Main and Mulberry: Grindstone – Candace Buzbee, Thomas Meat and Seafood

From a butcher shop, to a catering company, and now an events venue, Thomas Meat and Seafood has continued to evolve over the years. Their premium cuts of never frozen meat and exceptional customer service have customers coming back again and again. Candace Buzbee joins us on the Grindstone to share a little more about what Thomas has to offer and what makes them unique compared to local butchers and grocery stores.

Transcript

KE:

You’re listening to Main and Mulberry the Grindstone. Main and Mulberry gives voice to local leaders in small towns, telling big stories. This series, the Grindstone, focuses on a backbone of the U S economy, the small businesses who are creating new jobs and driving innovation with hard work and determination. We’ll hear from business operators about everything from success stories, to what it really means to keep your nose to the Grindstone. We’ll speak with SMB experts who bring unique and timely advice on a variety of topics, including team building, marketing, human resources, and finance. If you operate a business or considering starting one, or just want to hear some amazing stories, you’re going to love Main and Mulberry the Grindstone.

KE:

Welcome everyone and thanks for joining us today on the Grindstone. I’m Keith Essary, a founder of Main and Mulberry, and a small business owner and entrepreneur for the last 20 years. I know firsthand what it’s like to be on that small business grind as we like to say. Today I have with this Candace Buzbee with Thomas Meat and Seafood, a small business in Collierville Tennessee and Candace, welcome to the show.

CB:

Hi. Thank you.

KE:

Absolutely. So why don’t we take just a quick minute to introduce our audience to Thomas Meat and Seafood. How long have you guys been around and give me a general idea of what you do.

CB:

We, Thomas Meat and Seafood, it’s been around for quite a while and we are a butcher shop. We started off as a butcher shop, selling high quality meats to the community. And then we evolved to a catering company. And now we are a venue. So we have three departments, the butcher area, catering, and an event hall.

KE:

Wow. So it’s quite an expansion over over the years there. So I know as a butcher shop, you’re going to be competing with some of the bigger, more retail grocery stores. I know. I know Collierville, TN a little bit. And there’s some grocery stores right around the corner from the location of the butcher shop. What kind of makes you different than a regular grocery store? Why would I want to go to Thomas over you know, the meat department or something like that and in a chain grocery store?

CB:

Yes. So we pride ourselves on carrying premium meats. They’re hand cut. They’re never frozen. And we do have the freshest seafood that come in daily. Actually all of our meats, they come in daily. So it’s a premium quality than what you would find in your local grocery store.

KE:

Okay. So you’re carrying cuts, cuts of meat or something like, and, and you know, I do a little bit of barbecue myself, so maybe like an Angus. And do you guys have like any of the specialty stuff, sometimes

CB:

Black Angus beef, we carry most of our meats come from 44 farms in Texas.

KE:

And so it’s kind of the, give me a little bit of the experience. So you walk in, are you walking into like a traditional meat counter, like a butcher counter and somebody standing behind it with the white hat and the, you know, and the butcher paper, is that, is that what it’s like?

CB:

Yeah, basically it is. So you walk in and we’re basically like a deli as well. So we have our butcher and seafood case. We also have a full deli case where you can buy potato salad, chicken salad. We have fresh vegetables. We have farm raised eggs. We do sell milk and we, it, we have a ton of casseroles. We also have seasonings and charcoal. So it’s like your local deli.

KE:

Okay. So it’s a little more than what you would think of as a traditional butcher shop. When you talk about these casseroles and things like that, are they pre cooked or is there, or is there a combination? Are you taking them home and they’re ready to eat or do you them home and cook them?

CB:

So we have two separate things. We have family dinner meals, and then we also have our casseroles. Our casseroles are frozen and they are made in house daily. So you will have to take them home and cook them, warm them up in the oven. They come in different sizes as well.

KE:

Okay. So it’s not just the ingredients you can come in and just warm up in the oven and be ready to eat. So it’s something you can stop by and pick up for your daily meal

CB:

Super quick and fast. Yes.

KE:

Gotcha. Okay. So you mentioned a couple of other areas of business. You talked about catering. Is that something that you guys have done for a long time? What what’s that offering look like?

CB:

So we started catering about two years ago and we cater and deliver for free here in Collierville. And we cater all over the Midsouth. We cater business luncheons conferences. We even do, we dabble into weddings. We do rehearsal dinners, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers. We cater to basically anything, and the size ranges from maybe five to endless. It’s endless, we can cater to anybody.

KE:

Okay. So when you say deliver and cater free in Collierville, I mean, you mean that there’s like not a service charge or just paying for the food or what, what does that mean?

CB:

They’ll pay for the food, but we will deliver it to your business or to your home for free if you live here in Collierville.

KE:

Okay. That’s cool. So, but then if you go regional or something, then, then you have to charge you’re picking up mileage and things like that. So, yeah. Gotcha. Okay. So tell me, what do you think from being around the business, and I know you’re on kind of the marketing sales side, but what do you think that is the most unique thing about Thomas Meat and Seafood? I mean, what, what makes it just really stand out?

CB:

So here at Thomas Meat and Seafood marketing catering, we are a professional catering company. And we like to carry on a tradition of delivering high quality meats and fresh seafood. And we also are determined to earn the customer’s satisfaction through great food and service.

KE:

Okay. So service, I think is that that’s something that I key in on a lot of small businesses and naturally I’ll talk to a lot of small businesses and some of the key points there that, that you have when you’re talking about going in up against a traditional catering service, or even a retail grocery, like we were talking about a minute ago, that service aspect is something that I really connect with. Is it, if I were to go into Thomas, am I going to see any of the, any of the owners of the business ever there are there are, is, is it a, are these owner operators or is it mostly a staff type thing?

CB:

So it is owner operator and staff, and they’re very personable and they do make it feel like it’s at home. Like you’re at home when you walk in.

KE:

Gotcha. Are any of the things where the casseroles, are there special recipes or anything that maybe the owners have come up with or is there anything special happening there?

CB:

So actually, I’m glad you asked that. All of the recipes come from the owner and the chef in the kitchen, but we do share those recipes.

KE:

You do. So, so they’re not like the a, they’re not like the Coca Cola formula. You guys will actually give them out.

CB:

Yeah, we will share them. Yes, we’ll do we love doing cooking shows, and we always post our recipe in the comments when we do a live stream. And even when we do cooking classes.

KE:

Okay. That’s awesome. That’s cool. That’s a point of uniqueness, so, yeah. All right, let’s talk a little bit. I heard you mentioned, we talked about kind of three things at the first of the show. You talked about the butcher shop and kind of the, the retail shop there. We’ve talked about catering, but you mentioned a third thing that is a venue. Tell me about the venue a little bit.

CB:

So here at the venue at TMS is a modern contemporary venue. We have wooden floors. We have a projector screen with surround sound you that is available in the price. So if you hold a meeting or a conference, a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, everybody is available to use the projector screen. We hold a max capacity of 80 people in our venue. Right now during COVID we’ll will only hold half of that capacity. So we will only hold 40 right now. We do bridal showers, like I said conferences, luncheons, baby showers, birthday parties. We’ll do cooking classes with the chef. So we have a lot going on here and it’s in house catering. So our chef caters the food that is provided.

KE:

Gotcha. So it sounds like that you guys just are really trying to cover all the bases. So if you want to cook at home, you can come by the butcher shop. If you’ve got, if you’ve got an event going on, whether you want to do that at your house or at a different venue, you guys will come and cater. And then if you need it all, then you’ve got a venue where you can come and host your event, whether it’s a business meeting or whether it’s something from a, for wedding related, something like that, that, and then you guys can cater there as well. So it sounds like you’ve kind of, you know, doing it all. And, and I think there’s a couple of other things that you guys do too, that, that I happen to know about that I think is really cool. So you guys are doing like some specials during the week. Like there’s something on Wednesdays right now that you’re doing for women and you got some lunch things and there’s, you guys have some, some things like that going on too, right?

CB:

Yes. So going on right now, we have women’s Wednesday, which is a buy one, get one free casserole. We also have offer weekly specials on select meats, and we also have family dinners for the moment during this COVID and quarantine which you can order two different sizes, small or large, and they’re hot and ready to go dinners.

KE:

Gotcha. That sounds awesome. It sounds like you guys are really, you know, trying to do it all there, playing a role there of bringing something local, bringing something genuine to, and I know you’ve got quite a following there and so I know it’s also been kind of tough, but you know, over the last you know, COVID, I’m sure the event venue as has struggled those types of things as well. So those 3:00 AM I sit up in bed calls for the owners. I’m sure it’d been tough as going through this time, but I’m glad to see you guys are really trucking along and doubling down. I mean, I love to see that when small businesses you’re coming through a time, a time right now, that is very tough, but it sounds like you guys are just, you’re doubling down, you’re pushing forward, you’re trying to serve the community and I think that’s great. So I really appreciate you being on the show with us today, Candace. And thanks for your time.

CB:

Thank you.

KE:

Guys we’ll see you next time on the Grindstone.

 

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