Clark’s Custom Meat started as a dream — a desire to work together at home so that Sunday nights would never again hold that sting of impending separation from home and family. We have two children, Madison and Tyler, and we wanted to be 100% available for every phase of their lives. We didn’t want to miss a thing! We purposed to live with no regrets. It is so surreal how fast the time has gone. We are so grateful that we grabbed on to that dream and held on.
We both had great careers. Butch was managing a large meat department including fresh meat, smokehouse, seafood and deli. I worked for a home health agency as a respiratory therapist and loved my patients. Our work was challenging and deeply satisfying, but there was always a competing desire to spend more time as a family.
Butch’s store had been sold multiple times to various large, chain grocery stores. Each ownership change was a stressful re-adjustment to new policy and staffing. It became obvious that God had a different plan for our lives. After much prayer, we knew it was time to make our dream a reality.
Work began on our first little shop — in our backyard. Butch completely remodeled our garage into a workable meat shop. We started with on-farm slaughter only. We didn’t even have a rail system. Butch carried each quarter into the building on his shoulders. We slaughtered our first beef in July of 2003. Almost immediately, we had to add a much larger cooler to keep up with our growing business. Within a year I was able to quit my job, and finally, we were working together!
The early years were very stressful and a true exercise in faith, but we knew were exactly where God intended us to be. It was a time full of challenges and blessings. In 2010, after our youngest was in college, we moved the business away from home to our new building on 59 Highway in St. Joseph, Missouri. Butch designed the building and spent a year as the general contractor making sure everything was perfect. The new building allowed us to increase our custom production and add a nice retail area. The shop and our team have grown tremendously.
As the Clark’s Custom Meat dream has unfolded, the biggest surprise has been the unexpected blessings. The relationships with our team, customers, vendors, partners and other meat producers have brought such purpose to our lives. It is an honor to serve our team and our customers. We have learned many sweet and hard lessons along the way. We have grown closer together and to God. It really is a dream come true.