Processing facility meets need in Henry County area
There was a time when it would have been very advantageous for a butcher shop to be located near a railroad track for its various supply and distribution needs.
Such necessities no longer exist, yet there is still something very nostalgic about the location. However, Trackside Butcher Shoppe (and its location near a rail line) is more than a charming anachronism. It’s a source of fresh, local meat products for consumers in Henry and surrounding counties, as well as a processor for a substantial contingent of producers in the region who, heretofore, found themselves traveling prohibitively long distances to have their animals custom slaughtered, cut and packaged.
In October of 2013 a feasibility study was conducted by Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. It revealed a great need for a meat processing facility in the area, citing the large demand for processing services, large quantity of livestock and reduced transportation costs for farmers in the area as factors contributing to the feasibility of the project. A couple of Trimble County farm boys, Chris Wright and John Edwards felt they were up to the task, even though neither of them had previous experience in the meat business.
Chris and John were childhood friends who, upon graduating from high school, worked together in the communications industry for 15 years. Seizing the opportunity to return to the agriculture industry, their first love, the two best friends became business partners and set to work creating the business now located in the Henry County Commerce Park in Campbellsburg.
In mid-October, the co-owners/managers of Trackside snipped the ribbon at the official Grand Opening of the facility which began processing in November, 2015.
“Last year, in November, we were scrambling, trying to get open by the first week of rifle season so that we could get our feet wet with deer,” Edwards observed. “Immediately after that, we started taking in beef and hogs.”
Edwards says he’s exceedingly grateful to the producers that have trusted them. “They pulled around back here and dropped off thousand dollar bills, basically,” Edwards continued. “Those animals have great value. We’ve been trusted with those animals that producers have invested a lot of time and energy into and we thank them for their trust.”
The 5,400-square foot facility has the capacity to process 1,000 cattle, 400 hogs, 400 sheep/goats and 4,000 chickens, annually. It was supported in part by a combination of grant and loan funding from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, including $127,500 in county agricultural development funds from Henry, Oldham, Owen, Shelby and Trimble counties. The state contributed $372,500 in funding. The total project was estimated to cost nearly $1 million.
“To all the surrounding counties that believed in us and were willing to contribute their Ag Development funds, we say thank you very, very much,” Edwards reflected in his ribbon-cutting remarks. “We came to you and you, too, had trust in us.”
Also addressing the Grand Opening crowd, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles complimented everyone involved in making Trackside a reality, saying “that just goes to show you what can happen when the right people get together.”