When we started planning on what we wanted our butcher shop to sell a few things came to mind. Most importantly we wanted to provide a quality product at an affordable price. We wanted to have custom items such as sausage, jerky, rubs, fresh deli meats, and really focus on giving the consumer something that they can't find in a regular grocery store. As our store model progressed we knew that the key factor for us would be our connection with the community. We want to sell you guys things that we want ourselves. Local products made and served with love. Friendly service is a top priority for us. We want to know your name and your family, we want to be apart of your lives and build those memories together through one of the most basic human needs: food.
I think I've always had this desire as I grew up in and around my family's small business. We had a decorative concrete business in Florence, MS for 19 years and from the time I was born until I was 17 it was all I knew. I went to work every day with my parents and helped customers from the time I could walk and talk. It taught me so many lessons about people and community that I don't think I would have ever learned otherwise. Chad had a similar experience growing up with his grandparents business here in Laurel - The Popcorn Place. For 28 years Chad watched his Grandfather and Grandmother create a vibrant business in the Laurel community and spent years of his life working there with his extended family and friends. These experiences teach you something that I think is very special and it's a huge reason as to why both of us want to create our own legacy within the community.
After we got married we moved to Seattle, WA for a few years to spread our wings and really grow together and figure out exactly what we wanted for our future. It always came back to family and owning our own shop. Working for ourselves and really giving back to a community. It became crystal clear that we wanted to move back home to Laurel in order to start this next chapter. Laurel is a very special place filled with a community that supports local business and has so much potential to grow into a remarkable small town. We want to be a part of that and we also want to keep that history alive while helping it expand.
This brings me to Knight Sugar. Simply put we are going to be developing several brands at The Knight Butcher and one of them is going to be our in house homemade fudge = Knight Sugar. The idea for this came from The Popcorn Place. Chad’s Grandmother who some of you may know: Jean Bohannon used to make candies and fudge to sell alongside the popcorn in the mall. Now, I only had a couple of years before the PCP closed to experience this but in that short time I saw the reaction to her candies and fudge. People loved it. She is an amazing cook and in honor of her and the PCP we want to bring that fudge back.
As Chad and I traveled the last few years we would always end up in a candy shop in a cute little downtown area which always promoted their fresh fudge. A butcher shop or specialty deli would always be close by and when thinking about our shop and fudge - for us it was a no brainier. We have the history, we have the tradition, and we want to bring that special magic that we saw in each town we traveled to into our own business. How fun would it be to be able to get some steaks for dinner and a little sweet treat for dessert? Once we decided to include this into our business plan the next step was asking Grandmother to teach me how to make her famous fudge. Last Thursday I went over to her house and spent some time with her learning how to make the classic fudge that we will feature in our shop. There are so many tricks and small tips that only Grandmothers can teach and I hope to make her proud with the product that we will sell. It was such a fun experience getting to cook with her and below are some pictures from my lesson:
Of course, we had to have a taste tester for the fudge and Uncle Dennis who you may remember from The Popcorn Place was happy to help! It was such a fun day making the fudge, talking about how much people would enjoy it, and how no one who worked there wanted to clean the fudge pot.
We will be developing more fudge recipes for our shop and will feature a few different flavors each week. It's up to the public on which ones get made more than others and I will be making them all in small batches to assure that every bite is fresh. Knight Sugar isn't our main focus as we are specifically, a whole animal Butcher Shop but we think it will make life just a little sweeter and that's what we are all about.
*Thank you to our families for teaching us everything we know. It's through your examples we are able to follow our dreams.