Business brisk at local butcher: going strong during COVID

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

There’s a wickedly delightful bit about small-town shops in Bill Bryson’s book ‘Notes From a Small Island.’ He’s commenting storefront signs in some English town or other, one of them advertising a ‘Family Butcher.’ Bryson briefly considers making a prank call and asking if they will do his family for him.

It’s a joke! And this story is about small-town butchers in Canada – specifically in Slave Lake Alberta. The idea came from a CBC article last month suggested the COVID situation might have been a boon to small butchers. It certainly was for G&S Meats of Morningside, which is located about halfway between Ponoka and Lacombe. The owner reported a surge in demand in March, and it had continued up to the time of the interview.

Is the same thing happening around here?

The sample size is quite small. Eiserman Meats is the only independent butcher shop in the area that we were able to locate. There was one in Kinuso, but it switched from meat to another product and now goes by the name of ‘K-town Budz.’

Eiserman’s has been going strong. Owner Russell Eiserman tells The Leader, “It’s been better for us,” in the past couple of months.

“We can’t complain,” he adds. “We’ve got a strong clientele here.”

As for supply of meat, Eiserman says it’s been okay due to buying ahead, but there may be supply issues down the road. The small operator has to take what he can get.

But so far, so good.

“We’re just pushing along,” he says.

Eiserman’s is open six days a week – with occasional hours on Sundays if it gets very busy, which it has been lately. Russell says there’s enough work for “two regulars and two part-timers.”

It’s a local success story that has been providing good service to the community for several decades.

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