In Early August
We received the news our chicken processor was closing which really put the fire under our tail feathers. This probably had the biggest impact, as it's time sensitive. We have mentioned building a plant on our property at the 74, and while it's still in our future, it typically takes years to complete and it's something you need to get right the first time - as mistakes are insanely costly in this space. We looked very closely at buying the chicken processor. Very closely. Visited several times, had a business plan, and arranged financing. Then a few days later, Tanner had just gotten off the phone with something related to its purchase and started talking about it. I randomly blurted out "I'm not excited about this; I don't really want to buy it", and he said "I'm not either". So that was that. *side note: Tanner and I have always acted on gut feelings. They don't teach that in business school, but after several hard lessons we've learned to trust it. Later, it became clear to us that feeling a little pressured and desperate in searching for a solution had skewed our judgment.
While we felt relieved we'd decided to back out of the chicken processor, the familiar feeling of being at loss on what to do returned. Uncertainty began to merge with becoming overwhelmed regarding which specific route we were on. When I mean specific, I'm referring to what regulatory path we wanted to take - Federal, State, PRE, Retail Exempt and the list goes on when it comes to handling meats. This tied with insane inflation, interest rates, and custom build prices - left us feeling at a loss, again.
One random morning I was on the commercial real estate website searching for buildings in nearby towns. We really wanted to end up in Cuero, but I went ahead and did a search in a small town just as close - Yorktown. When Tanner was in the oilfield he drove through this town nearly every day for years. I found the listing of a building we already knew was for sale from driving by often, just running errands. Tanner and I even joked about buying it as we drove by one day.
"Maybe we buy that."
"HA. Yeah right."
Then here I am on the computer, recognizing the photo on the listing.
"Hmph, that's a pretty good price."
Clicked on it.
"Hmm, it has concrete walls and flooring (good for a meat space), it's been gutted, and it has a big walk in (not working) cooler"
"It has 3 phase power, a big open space and a separate little office space, and is only 15 min away"
We called the realtor and looked at it the next day. Turned out to be the imperfect yet perfect space for what we are looking for* (asterisk because we know with any remodels problems arise). It took a couple of weeks to understand, work through, and accept some deed restrictions, but finally we closed!
With full hearts and heaviness lifted - we are excited to jump into the next step of beginning to cut carcasses "in-house". First will be chickens, obviously. Then I'd love to have a full time butcher to break carcasses down one by one. Deli meats are a must as we don't offer those now, and when Brooklyn is old enough she'll be sent to school carrying a sandwich with 1915 turkey or ham, as will many children. Thank you for following along. I hope you enjoyed some of the before pics and we'll keep you updated through the process!
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