Today’s meat markets typically offer more than just meat. A shopper looking for bacon or sausages can also pick up some jam, cheese, bread or pastries as well. Not only does this make for a happy consumer, but it also makes good business sense for the meat market owner.

“We feel it gives our customers the ability to cover more bases shopping than just a meat item they may be looking for,” says Nick Fantasma, retail store manager for Paradise Meats of Trimble, Mo.

Paradise Meats offers a wide variety of award-winning cured meats, as well as fresh pork, beef and chicken. Along with the fresh cuts and the smoked hams, bacon, sausages and other products, the company tries to provide products it doesn’t make in house that complement its meat items. Examples would include orange marmalade and peach jam that make a good glaze for its cured and smoked pork chops, seasoning shakers for its steaks or burgers and cheese to pair with its snack items like summer sausage or bologna.

“It also affords us the opportunity to build holiday gift baskets and bundles throughout the year with more than just meat items. For example, we have sold a surf and turf bundle with a bottle of wine for a Valentine's Day dinner for two or a Breakfast in Bed bundle for Mother's Day with bacon, maple links, eggs, and a jar of jam or preserves,” Fantasma says.

Most recently, the company added cheeses from several local cheesemakers. The addition came about when Paradise Meats’ previous cheese supplier was acquired by a larger distributor.

“At that point,” Fantasma relates, “I felt it was a great opportunity to see if there were some local cheese companies here in Missouri, that we could start sourcing from, and fortunately there was!”

The downside was that Fantasma couldn’t find a company that supplies all of the varieties that its previous supplier did. The upside was that he was able to spread out the support to a few different companies, including Hemme Brothers Creamery, Hautly Cheese Co. Inc. and Green Dirt Farm.

Paradise Meats is a family-run business, and Fantasma family wants to support other family-owned businesses like theirs. Doing so benefits the entire community, Fantasma says. Customers who come to Paradise Meats have similar beliefs, and they appreciate seeing cheeses from local businesses rather than the same products they can find at any grocery store.

“It really boils down to quality,” he adds. “We pride ourselves in the high quality of what we sell here in our store and any products that we carry, so we are going to sample and discuss to make sure that any new product is a good fit for us, our retail store, and ultimately our customers.”

Hermann Wurst Haus has taken advantage of its neighbors to offer some items that complement its meats perfectly. Owner/operator Mike Sloan notes that there are multiple breweries and distilleries around his business in Hermann, Mo. As a result, he and his neighbors have been teamed to produce a variety of beverages for sale at the shop. They are all custom-branded, including Butcher Block Lager and Wurstmeister Wheat beers.

“Just like putting your name on a really nice package of bratwurst or a grand champion summer sausage, [if you] put your name on a high quality soda or a high quality beer, you're cross-marketing and branding your product. I mean, who doesn't want a bratwurst and a beer? And if they can have that beer with your name on it, very high chances they're going to buy the beer and the bratwurst,” Sloan says.

Along with seven varieties of beer, Hermann Wurst Haus offers five flavors of craft soda and recently introduced three red wines as well.

“We can't make everything that we want, but we can brand it,” he says.

Sloan never had any intention of getting into the beer business. Then, his distiller pitched the idea to him, and he started to think, “Why isn't anybody doing this?"

“It’s been a great marketing tool, because if somebody is going to eat, sooner or later they're going to drink something behind it,” he adds. “And it might as well be something with your name on it.”

Along with its beverages, Hermann Wurst Haus sells a full range of bratwurst, bacon, ham, summer sausages and more. While the company makes almost all of its meat products, it gets its jerky and snack sticks made by a private labeler, as the shop is not set up to produce those meat items. The shop also offers jams, jellies, mustards and sauces. Sloan has found local producers to make those items. He says that finding these processors often come from speaking with other processors, and trade shows are often a great source of leads. Industry suppliers know their equipment, but they also know other processors in multiple industries and are often willing to give leads.

“They're trying to sell their product, but they also know that they have to be your friend. And as their friend, they're going to give you leads,” Sloan says, “and you'll remember that when you need something like a piece of equipment. I can’t tell you how many leads I’ve gotten like that.”