Stratton’s Custom Meats expanding
HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- When Greg Stratton’s friend and butcher mentor Bob Hoffman of Cherryplain got out of the custom meat business, Stratton bought his equipment and the contents of his shop and stepped up to fill the need.
Stratton’s Custom Meats has been in operation for a year and in the next few weeks Stratton will be completing a 1,300-square-foot addition to his shop, allowing for more volume and freezer space. There’s no killing floor, currently, so Stratton drives to the customer in his slaughter truck. He’ll prepare any suitable animal, wild or domestic, hauling it back to his commercial coolers for storage, processing, or aging.
"I decided I needed a career change," said Stratton, after 29 years working at Airgas in Bennington, Vt. A few years ago, Stratton had built his own small meat shop, and last year he had a conversation with another local butcher shop, Eagle Bridge Custom Meats, who along with Hoffman helped to get Stratton started.
A custom meat shop, Stratton explains, is for people looking for a butcher to prepare meat for their own personal use and freezers, not for resale.
"It’s kind of a niche business," he said, but, in evidence of the need, business has been good, mostly on word of mouth alone. Stratton has no plans to go USDA-approved, which would allow him to retail.
Stratton opened for last year’s deer season and eventually prepared some 100 deer. He continued to do domestic animals -- beef, pig, sheep, goat -- all winter long. "You can stay as busy as you want to be" in the business of custom meats, he said. "I don’t want to get big, I just want to make a living."
Stratton plans to introduce venison products this year, including the options of pepperoni or smoking. Stratton can also do sausage, and he’s in the market for a bacon slicer. With the new expansion comes a larger main cooler as well as a smaller "chill cooler" for warm fresh slaughter, important for cutting down on condensation.
Since it is a mobile operation, Stratton covers a larger area, including upstate New York, southern Vermont, and western Massachusetts. There are six other employees. Stratton said he enjoys dealing with the customers, mostly "down to Earth farmers."
Stratton’s Custom Meats is located at 705 Pine Valley Road, but he’ll bring the slaughter truck to you if you call 518-686-8299.