In December 2019, Joe and JoAnn Harren, with no prior meat locker experience, started J&J Custom Meats. They saw the need for this type of business within their community and sought out the resources needed to start. J&J Custom Meats provides meat processing services for beef, pork, and venison, as well as retail sales of beef sticks, jerky, and other meats. During COVID-19, they have been able to help keep the meat supply chain moving in their area.
There have been many key partners in this project: Bill and Cathie Richter, former owners of the old Whittemore Locker, The City of Whittemore, along with many lenders, economic developers, family and friends.
Many of the resource partners they needed to know, Maureen Elbert and the team at Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation connected them with. Michael Wampler, Regional Director of the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center, being one of them.
Michael and the SBDC assisted the Harrens with the question of feasibility and helped prepare them for approaching lenders. Joe Harren said, “Working with the SBDC was great. It is a free and convenient tool that really helped us put together a plan. The banks were really impressed with the financial projections and it helped us to easily figure out if our project had any chance of success.”
For more information about J&J Custom Meats visit https://jandjcustommeats.com/