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Turtle Lake couple new owners of butcher shop...

Justin and Kayla Ebach know very well there is a strong demand for meat processing in northwestern North Dakota and they expect to supply some of that demand.

8/06/19 (Tue)

Justin and Kayla Ebach know very well there is a strong demand for meat processing in northwestern North Dakota and they expect to supply some of that demand.

The Ebachs, who moved here from Turtle Lake, purchased Kenmare Meat Processing on July 1 from Jeff King and opened for business on Monday.

Both Justin and Kayla have a strong background in processing beef and pork. Justin got his experience butchering hogs at Cloverdale  Foods in Minot and has also butchered livestock and wild game while working in Drake.

Kayla’s experience comes from their Drake enterprise.

According to Justin, they found out by accident that the Kenmare plant was for sale. He was looking for some livestock supplies on Bis-Man Online and it was King who happened to be the seller.

“It turns out it was Jeff,” Justin Ebach said. “I’ve known him about five years and he asked me if we wanted to buy the shop. I said no. We later looked at it, liked it and bought it.”

According to Kayla, they moved here July 1 because they wanted to get their children here and meet some other kids before school starts.

“We’re excited about the business, but we want our kids to have a good life,” she said.

Justin added, “Family comes first. The butcher shop is a job, but family is most important.”

Their children are Robert, who is 7, McKenzie is 6 and Samantha is 1 1/2 years old. Robert is going into the second grade and Samantha will be in kindergarten.

The Ebachs talked a bit about their experience and Justin said his work speaks for itself.

Kayla added that getting a good product out to customers, as well, speaks for itself.

“When we started in Drake, we had to beg for four beef and we quickly went up to booking eight per week and often killed 13,” Justin said. “If cattle had broken legs or something, that’s how we went past eight. We want to help farmers out. We took a plant that wasn’t doing well and turned it around.”

According to Kayla, the Kenmare plant may have opened earlier but they wanted to make sure everything was right for passing their inspection.

And now that they have that certificate on their office wall, they can butcher and package beef, hogs, goats, bison and wild game. But that will come on a first-come first-serve basis.

“The focus is always going to be on the farmers,” Kayla said. “We slaughter beef on site and bring them here.”

Unfortunately with wild game, it will have to be somewhat limited based on freezer space. The Ebachs said they too, will be deer hunting and the shop will be closed when the season opens in November.

As an example, Kayla said beef and venison can’t be in the same cooler and because beef will take precedence, it will limit the amount of wild game they will be able to process. Prices will be determined later for processing.

But for beef, it is $100 to slaughter and $50 to slaughter a hog. The meat will be cut and wrapped for 90 cents a pound and transportation is $1.70 a loaded mile.

“People are willing to pay for a good product and a good service,” Kayla said. “I already have a Drake customer coming here.”

She added there are a number of people from Drake who are already on a wait list to have their beef processed in the new Kenmare plant.

For now, the processed products will include smoked and unsmoked sausage, bulk sausage, hamburger, pork chops and some steaks.

As soon as they are settled in, they will also be making pepper sticks. They believe the popularity of the snack will be as intense in Kenmare as it was in Drake.

“I was making 500 a week and sending them to Bismarck, Williston, White Earth...,” Kayla said. “I also make the sausage and do the seasoning so it remains consistent.”

She added, however, that anything that is sold retail, will be frozen.

“Otherwise, we would have too much waste,” she said. “We just don’t know who may want fresh beef.”

They say they work well together as a team and are good at it. Fast, efficient and focused exactly on what they are doing, the Ebachs urge customers to drop by and check it out, or call the plant at 385-4663.

According to Justin, he can stuff 30 pounds of 1-pound bags of ground beef in 45 seconds. He said he butchered 362 beef in eight months in Drake and had only three complaints with only one of them being from a retail customer.

“In Drake we had thousands of customers and we had only three complaints,” Justin said. “And we did beef, pork, elk, moose. You name it, we did anything and everything.”

One thing in Kenmare that will be different than before, according to Kayla, is they will not be wrapping hamburger. It will be placed in 1-pound bags because it will last longer primarily because there are fewer air pockets inside the container.

“We thought it was cost effective, but it also preserves the product longer,” Justin said. “But we will double wrap on a customer’s request, but it will cost extra because of the extra time involved.”

As an added incentive, on a customer’s cut order, Kayla weighs every tray of product and every tray of waste so the customer knows exactly how much meat they are getting.

They both said simultaneously, the average is about 60 percent.

The Ebachs say it’s important to them to provide a good life for their family and a good service to the community. They strongly believe that both are needed to be successful.

The location is the same, the telephone number is the same, but the customer service will be top notch, this young couple says.

“We have the same number and we didn’t change the outside,” Kayla said. “A grant paid for the siding and the sign, so we felt is was appropriate to leave it in place.”

Justin added, “We’re in it for the long haul.” ...  Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!