Talking Shop: Middle Park Meat Co.
Mike Sidler and Fee Gaston Owners of Middle Park Meat Co., 1107 Highway 9, Kremmling
How long have you been in business? We’ve owned it for four years. Established in 1975
How did you get started in this business? Mike worked for Harlan and Jane six years, and then we bought the business.
Business mission statement: Providing high-quality products for an honest price
Success in the mission: We’re still paying the bills
Challenges to the mission. Keeping up with government regulations or working around them, Some are just impossible.
How do you cope with Grand County’s seasonal surges? Try and do as much business during the busy seasons to make it through mud season.
What do you think is your biggest business barrier on a state and/or national level? New rules and regulations for food products through the Colorado Health Department
What can government here do to help? Stop treating small meat processors like big USDA plants.
How does your business give back to the community? We try and give donations to nonprofits.
How do you support other local businesses? Recommendations to our customers about other businesses and we try to shop locally as much as possible
How do you feel about direct competition? I think we are the only specialty meat market in the area.
How do you market yourself (and track results)? We don’t really market ourselves, it’s mostly by word of mouth and good products. This article doesn’t hurt either
What’s the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? It takes a lot of hard work to keep the business running. You have to suck it up and jump through the hoops needed
Where do you go for help when you need it? There is CAMP (Colorado Associates of Meat Processors) and AMP (American Meat Processors)
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? The previous owners Jane and Harlan Land and the Rolling Stones
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? Second Homeowners, Tourism, and word of mouth
If you could go back in time and start up your business venture all over again, what would you do differently? Know all the rules and regulations better
What’s the best complimen t you received from a customer? Too many great ones to choose from
What do you consider to be your biggest mistake in business? I don’t think we’ve made the biggest one yet. There’s still plenty of time to make mistakes
What organization(s) is (are) most useful to business owners? Networking with other business owners is always beneficial
How much of a role does technology play in your business? Not much. We try and keep it to a minimum, only a credit card machine, cash register and phone. We try to keep everything old-school
What’s the general key to making a customer/client/guest happy? It really depends on the customer. It’s always good to have an upbeat attitude and smile
Is their any certain trend you’ve noticed in consumer habits lately? They tend to buy meats that are on TV cooking shows, also everyone is more conscious of the prices and most make sure they purchase meat products without antibiotics or growth hormones
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you’ve noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? We recently painted the building to make the sign pop out more.
What are some ways you train yo ur staff on an ongoing basis? We work every day side-by-side with our employees
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Try and keep a positive attitude and keep going
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