The grill is the summertime equivalent of a fireplace, everyone gravitates to it. And nothing compliments a good summer evening like mouthwatering, perfectly grilled meat. If you ask any area native where to find great, high-quality meat, they will point you towards 1220 Main Street in Van Buren where you will find Butcher Boys Meat Market & Deli.
The 22-year-old establishment first opened as the brainchild of three families who spent years in the grocery business. Over time, two of the owners would leave to pursue other ventures and in 2008 the remaining owner sold the business to Dave and Patricia Valentini. While some of Dave’s work history came from restaurants, most of his career prior was spent as a general manager for a local car dealership. During the late 2000’s recession the dealership closed, and Dave found himself looking for a business to purchase. The meat market was intriguing and with his vast experience in customer service, Valentini felt confident in his acumen to take Butcher Boys into the next decade.
Valentini says the business side of the store did not provide a difficult learning curve given his past management experience, but rather like all owners, he had many preconceived ideas that would need testing and tweaking over time. He quickly learned that to optimize profit would mean utilizing every ounce of meat possible -from ribs to ground beef, roast, soup bones, etc. After his first year, Valentini also discovered that the best way to control the quality of the product was to literally be “hands on” so he took on the meat cutting responsibilities himself.
Listening to customer requests has also given Butcher Boys an advantage over the national grocery stores in the area. They have occasionally offered such varieties as frog legs and crawfish. Year round you can find unique items including lamb, ground veal, rabbit, and a large variety of seafood filets. In support of other local companies, Butcher Boys carries a selection of meats from Petit Jean and Mountain View Meat Company. The area partners replenish weekly with everything from andouille sausage to smoked ham ends and pork jowl.
Holidays keep the staff busy from Valentine’s Day through the summer holidays and into Thanksgiving when pre-orders for smoked turkeys take over every shelf in the store’s coolers. Additionally, the store enjoys catering for special events and preparing boxed lunches for large gatherings. Stop by on weekdays for a hot lunch to-go when you can grab anything from “fall off the bone” ribs to chicken leg quarters and even dirty rice.
Valentini mentioned that over the years Butcher Boys has seen a steady growth and now knows most repeat customers by name. He credits the loyalty and patience of their customers with the success the store has seen over the years, saying “we’re fortunate to live in a town where people recognize the importance of supporting local businesses and we as a business try to reciprocate as much as possible by supporting local organizations and events”. “We (the Butcher Boys team) make our living here in Van Buren and so we want to spend our resources here in Van Buren,” noted Valentini. “We often support and contribute to organizations and fundraisers when we can. Being a good ‘corporate citizen’ is an important aspect of our business philosophy.”
Being a local business owner, Valentini believes it’s important for any business who makes their living from the community to also support that same community and a savvy way to do so is through joining the Chamber. Joining the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce was one of his first action items when managing the car dealership and so he carried that same belief into his ownership at Butcher Boys. He believes in the Chamber’s efforts to keep the local economy busy while looking forward through economic development and building the infrastructure for future capabilities. Businesses like Butcher Boys are what makes Van Buren a great community, and what allows us to pursue a livelihood of growing, and working, together.