When you walk into the old-fashioned storefront of the Canning Village Meat Market to order your barbecue steaks and burgers, you’d never imagine that this small-town butcher shop is a retailing and wholesaling powerhouse. The store first opened in the late 1800s and has operated continuously as a butcher shop ever since.
Its current owners, Oscar Huntley and Nancy Roscoe-Huntley, bought the business 20 years ago. Back then, the physical toll of many years’ work in commercial construction was prompting Oscar to consider a new career. He enrolled in Nova Scotia Community College’s retail meat-cutting program and graduated top of his class. His college work experience was in the Canning store at a time when the owner was looking to sell. Oscar and Nancy bought it, operating initially as a sole proprietorship. By 2008, the business had become so successful that they incorporated as the Canning Village Meat Market Inc.
“We’ve done really well,” Nancy says. “Business has increased yearly. About 10 years ago, we built a piece on the back and put our processing room in. When we first started, pepperoni wasn’t a big market item – we made it a few times a week. Now we’re making over 25 tons a year, just pepperoni.”
The Huntleys appreciate their customers’ support. “We listen to what our customers need – that’s extremely important,” she says. “When we began, we had three goals: competitive prices, top-notch customer service, and high-quality products. When you look at customer comments on our Facebook page, people mention those things.”
The business wholesales to farm markets, convenience stores and grocers between Falmouth and Berwick. They also sell to restaurants.
Now, with the help of the Farm Loan Board, they have nearly finished building an extension beside their current store. “The interest rates are much better than the big commercial lenders, and they made it easy for us.” Nancy says. “We’re very grateful to the Farm Loan Board.”
The new building will enable them to sell more variety of meats and local products. “We’re going to expand our smoked sausages and bring in nice deli meats, a variety of cheeses and maybe charcuterie,” Nancy says. Although they use Alberta beef because they couldn’t get the quantities they need in Nova Scotia, they’re talking to Atlantic Beef to see if they can bring in Atlantic beef again.
To learn more about Canning Village Meat Market, visit their website.