After Kate Steward's Village Pantry wholesale grocery in Soddy-Daisy closed down, it was clear to her what had worked and what hadn't. She'd opened the store to provide a low-cost alternative to chain supermarkets for local residents who were on financial assistance or who otherwise wanted a more inexpensive place to shop.
While the overall business struggled, one part of the small grocery store always got rave reviews: the meat and vegetable selection.
Steward had put together a list of wholesalers willing to provide higher-quality meat and produce compared to chain grocers, she said, and it resonated with people.
"That part was very successful," Steward said. "I thought, 'Why not open up a store for just that?'"
Thus, Super Meats was created, and opened in October at 8437 Dayton Pike.
The store is on the small side. It has four extra-large freezers for frozen meat and produce, and Steward affectionately refers to it as a "hole in the wall." However, she says, its stature hasn't affected how popular it's quickly become.
"We've had people come in for the first time two weeks ago and they've already come back four times since," she laughed. "I think people really appreciate the low prices and selection."
The store is stocked with produce and meat from both wholesale retailers and local farmers no more than 250 miles away. The combination means that while Super Meats has a standard stock of chicken, pork and vegetables, the store also gets frequently changing specials. One week, it was jumbo red shrimp from the Gulf. Another week, it was rib-eye steaks for several dollars less per pound than what was available at Food Lion or Wal-Mart, Steward said.
Once she announces the deals in the store and on social media, residents are quick to capitalize, she said.
"I think there's a lot of convenience for people to have this so close by," said Steward. "There's not really anything like this around here."
She encourages customers to call the store to see what's in stock. If something they want isn't available, it can be ordered and picked up that week, she said.
The store accepts EBT, something Steward said she was adamant about. After all, her original venture was borne out of hearing local residents' stories of struggling to put food on the table.
"We make sure our markups are low on as many items as we can," she said. "It's a simple store, and one we think people will appreciate."
For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/supermeats or call the store's manager, Lisa Marie Siplin, at 355-3780.