Fresh approach helps fortify Myers' Market in community
Standing on a makeshift front porch in the Putnam County Fairgrounds Community Building, Mitch Myers, the young entrepreneur who has opened the Greencastle market that bears his family name to resounding success, offered up a few neighborly observations Wednesday.
Addressing food and its origins, business in general and specifically his role in his hometown community, Myers stressed the availability of local products that sets his Myers' Market deli/butcher shop/ sandwich place apart.
"I like to be able to buy my meat and other products from somebody I know and trust," he said in reference to the often-inherent combination of freshness and taste associated with buying local. "I've met most of the owners of the products I sell in the store."
While stopping short of running across the fairgrounds to grab a steer from the Beef Barn to butcher, Myers said he hopes to capitalize on such local availability. Currently most of his beef comes from the Attica area, while the former 10-year 4-H'er is hoping to work with Putnam County beef producers.
Meanwhile, his chicken and pork products come from Red Barn Farms in Greencastle, while he said he is working on establishing a relationship with Mark and Phyllis Legan's local hog operation for some of his pork.
Myers admits he's been quite surprised at how quickly and unexpectedly the "front porch" of his 302 E. Washington St. business has become a local gathering place for community members and DePauw University students and faculty alike since opening last September.
"I know you're thinking, Mitch, we've been by Myers' Market and you don't have a front porch," he said to laughs from the audience, "but we have a patio and the concept is pretty much the same.
"We have a place to sit and talk and meet friends and even take a nap," he smiled, quickly noting he's never actually seen anybody dozing off at the store.
Meanwhile, it is that relaxed interaction with customers that has surprised him the most.
"Our role in the community," Myers reasoned, "seems much more broad than I ever expected."
For example, he noted that the 11 a.m.-to-1 p.m. timeframe often finds DePauw students en masse at Myers' Market picking up lunch.
"From 11 to 1 is crazy busy," he said, "so please bear with us as we try to get through the students."
Speaking at the annual Putnam County Fair Family Fun Day (formerly known as Ladies Day) in the Community Building before the largest crowd he's ever talked in front of, Myers said the market cuts its meat fresh and can carve out anything to order.
"The thing I love most about the market is the meat," noted the 2004 Greencastle High School graduate and son of Jon and Ruth Myers whose business is a true family-owned and operated affair with all but two of his employees being related to Myers.
"I realize many of you have more years of experience buying and preparing food than I have on this earth," Myers added before offering some insight into selecting and preparing beef and pork products.
For example, pork, he said, is much leaner than it used to be, noting that pork tenderloin is now "as lean as a skinless chicken breast."
Faced with a decision to buy boneless or bone-in meat products, Myers advised "bone adds flavor as the meat cooks and often comes as a lower cost."
"In my opinion, that's a win-win."
Meanwhile at the market, Myers said he's always interested in new ways to cook and prepare meat.
"So please," he said, "feel free when you come in to tell us your secrets so we can pass them along to other front porchers."