Like most American families, the Scheeles’ fondness for steaks was restricted only by budgetary limitations. Steaks were a luxury, and as such were reserved for special occasions.
Those special occasions, however, were sometimes vexed by disputes over which cut of steak would be most suitable. Kristi preferred ribeyes, Tim liked bone-in ribeyes, Tyler insisted on Kansas City strip steaks and MaKenna begged for filets. That the grocery store sold only prepackaged steaks in limited sizes left the family with few options that would satisfy everyone.
Invariably when faced with these decisions, Tim and Kristi would muse back to the days before prepackaged meat when customers could tell their local butchers exactly what they wanted and, what’s more, get it. For Kristi it wasn’t just a romanticized version of a post-war Americana myth but actual reality, because her grandfather, Don Boyd, had worked as a butcher for more than 25 years in a family-owned store in Laird, Colo., and the massive hardwood butcher block he used still belonged in the family.
The block had been, in her words, the “heart of the hearth.” Her grandmother used it meal preparations, making pie crusts and sandwiches and all manner of dishes, and her grandfather cut meat and oiled it and kept it ready for its next use. When they passed away, the block remained in the family, first with Kristi’s sister, and then, after a series of relocations made possession of the block impractical, with Kristi and Tim.
Kristi’s musing weren’t lost on her husband. With a 26-year background in grocery and 15 years as meat cutter, he, too, knew that things could be the way they used to be. After some serious consideration he quit his job and the together they went into business for themselves.
Scheele Meat Market, located in the heart of Marysville, Kan., at 200 N. 12th St., opened in 2011. The business was an instant success. “Our goal was to keep things simple,” Tim says. “We offer fresh quality products at an affordable price to give families options. Above all, we strive to know our customers and their preferences. Every item that goes out the door has been a decision between the customer and the retailer. That’s what it’s all about—making sure the customer gets what he wants.”
Customers can choose from a large variety of beef, pork, chicken and seafood, or custom order individual products based on thickness or size. Most customers had never experienced that level of service before, Tim says.
“We’re here for the community,” she says. “Our business isn’t just about selling meat, it’s about building relationships. Sometimes our customers ask for recipes or pointers about cooking certain cuts of meat, and sometimes they share their own recipes and ideas. There’s a definite personal touch, and it goes both ways.”
“Keeping it simple” has been the driving force behind the meat market’s success. It drives every aspect of the business, including the equipment used.
“We don’t have a lot of fancy equipment,” Kristi says. “Tim’s grinder came from an Amish family. There are probably more efficient ways to doing things, but so far it’s been good.”
And then there’s the butcher block. It sits behind the counter, immense, scarred, utilitarian, a symbol of family, of tradition, of simpler times and a different work ethic, one based on trust and respect. Both aged and ageless, it is now the heart of the meat market. “Tim never met grandparents,” Kristi says. “They passed before they could meet him. But I know how happy they’d be that it is still used as a butcher block.”
Scheele Meat Market is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, or to order custom cuts of meat, call 785-562-9866.