Risk paying off as Myers’ Market celebrates five-year anniversary

Friday, September 28, 2018
As other customers enjoy their lunches of bacon cheddar burgers or spare ribs, the line at Myers’ Market stretches onto the Washington Street sidewalk Friday afternoon. The fifth anniversary celebration of the Greencastle business concludes on Saturday.
Banner Graphic/Jared Jernagan

For anyone in the Greencastle community who had doubts about the viability of a local butcher and sandwich shop, don’t feel guilty.

Mitch Myers had his doubts too.

Manning a grill Friday afternoon during the week-long Myers’ Market fifth anniversary celebration, Myers admitted that he knew he was taking a risk when he opened the shop in late September 2013.

Clad in his familiar baseball cap, Myers’ Market founder Mitch Myers serves up a slab of ribs Friday afternoon during the store’s fifth-anniversary celebration.
Banner Graphic/Jared Jernagan

“I put a year of business planning into it and sometimes it didn’t look feasible and sometimes it did,” Myers said. “So we thought it was worth the risk.”

Introducing a locally-sourced, locally-owned butcher shop to a city in which the only sources of meat had been national chain grocery stores seemed like a refreshing idea. But consumer habits can be hard to break.

However, with a strong following of devoted customers and the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce 2017 Putnam County Small Business of the Year award now in tow, it’s clear that it’s working.

Myers’ Market founder Mitch Myers flips a slab of ribs for the Friday afternoon cookout crowd.
Banner Graphic/Jared Jernagan

Myers and his crew have been able to roll with the changes, big and small, that he sees as “the natural progression of business.” One key is learning as you go and changing with those lessons.

“We’ve had products that we really liked and we really stood behind that weren’t great on selling,” Myers said. “And we get a lot of customer recommendations and a lot of those become our best-selling items. We’re always happy to take the customer recommendations and see where they go.”

Even while celebrating five successful years during Friday’s lunch rush there was a lesson to be learned. The grill simply wasn’t able to both heat the smoked ribs and cook bacon cheddar burgers.

As the line began to curl around to the front of the property, Myers’ team had to work fast to get a flat-top grill for the burgers.

Not many complaints were heard, though, once the customers were enjoying their lunches in the early autumn sunshine.

Part of what has made the team at Myers successful has been that it’s family, and not just in the figurative sense.

“We’ve been pleased with having a very large family that can all support each other and stand behind what I’m doing here,” Myers said. “And then the extended family and close family friends have stepped in and helped us over the years. Everybody’s stepped in and made some sort of an impact on us and the customers we’ve had.”

Family, namely Mitch’s mom Ruth, has been especially important with the addition of catering to the repertoire in the form of Myers’ 5 East.

“The catering side is really growing,” Myers said. “My mom primarily handles that but it’s getting to be a lot with everything else she does.”

For Ruth, the “everything else” includes a full-time job, being Mom to five grown (or nearly grown) kids, caring for her own mother, founding and running non-profit group Phil the Need, the Tools for Schools program, Giving Tree, Delta Theta Tau and teaching Sunday School.

The addition of catering in 2015 also provided an event space in the building at 5 E. Franklin St.

“It was just going to be kind of a storage place and give us the ability to do some other stuff for the market,” Myers said. “Then we started thinking about the catering side. Since we’ve had that space, we’ve been using that as an event space.”

While the Myers’ Market is open six days a week throughout the year, its trademark for many in the community are the Thursday lunch cookouts that run weekly from spring to fall, weather permitting.

“Grilling out was in the business plan. We had seen it done at another butcher shop and we liked it,” Myers said. “You take products you already have and kind of showcase them.”

Looking back on five years, Myers is thankful the community has supported his venture.

“Thanks for the support,” he said, “for helping us grow and staying with us through the first years of trying to get things figured out.”

The community support has even come from the business next door, which Myers doesn’t see so much as a competitor as a magnet for new and different customers. He said the recent opening of Taco Wapo in the former Anthony’s Pizzeria location has also helped his business.

“I think they had they’re own following coming from Cloverdale that came up her and hadn’t heard of us,” Myers said.

The Myers’ Market fifth anniversary celebration concludes Saturday with breakfast and lunch, as well as a drawing for free thanksgiving turkey and ham.

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