Bob & Kate Otwell, Bob's Butcher Shop

Tell us about your business and why you chose that particular business path?

We chose to open a butcher shop because it was a need in our community.  Bob was not happy with the quality of meat and customer service he was experiencing in the corporate-owned super market world.  With three boys, we made the decision that a butcher shop would be a great investment in the future of our family.  Now Bob and I can put our hearts into the products we carry and give the level of customer service we've found lacking. 

How is your business going so far in comparison to your projections or goals?

Market research was crucial to us understanding what our sales would look like.  With detailed planning, we have been successful in being very accurate with our business plan numbers.

Most people are hesitant to start a business in rural areas, is/was that a concern for you?

Our community has been amazingly supportive!  Our economy has been rocky for a long time but we feel that great changes are on the horizon and we are here digging our heels in so we can be here for many, many years to come.

How were you referred to the Sawmill Rural Business Center?

I, Kate, am the executive secretary for the Sawmill.  It was hard to not get rolled into the big ball of positivity that our community has been growing in the last two years.  We were excited to become an anchor store on the corner and show the community that there are people willing to take a gamble and believe in our little Village. 

What are your short and long term business plans? 

Bob and I both are drawn to the "old fashioned" way that mom and pop businesses used to run.  Our dream is to have a specialty shop where you can walk in knowing that everything is made there with love.  We will continue to steadily move in that direction.  Future plans include only homemade deli salads, desserts and smoked meats created right here.

What advice do you have for those that might be considering starting a business in Roscommon County or other rural areas?

Our advice for opening a business here is: 
  • Do your research!
  • Market yourself continuously.
  • Know that Winters are hard on everyone and you're not alone but plan   accordingly.
  • Summer may pay the bills but don't forget the locals, they are the key to your survival.
  • Most importantly owning a business is difficult but also very rewarding.

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