Jeremy Webb, the owner of Revival Butchery in the Village of West Greenville, said he’s never felt more humbled as a business owner than he has in the past few weeks.
From the view out of his shop window, the streets of the Village are quieter than usual, as so many of his neighbors have shut their doors — some, he fears, for good.
As for Webb’s business, not only is Revival Butchery keeping its doors open, the shop is about to expand. The butcher shop will soon take over the old Bake Room location at 1296 Pendleton St. just down the road, where the larger space will allow for expanded meat offerings, more display cases and more standing room for customers.
Webb said the plan to expand has been in the works for more than half a year, but he said the increased demand from new customers during the coronavirus lockdowns has been a “nudge” to get things moving quicker.
“Every time we get a delivery, when the farmer shows up, we’re playing a serious game of Tetris to puzzle all our products in here,” Webb said. “We’re bursting at the seams. It’s really humbling, that’s for sure.”
In the past two months, the meat supply chain has come under intense scrutiny, as industrial meatpacking plants are now deemed COVID-19 hotspots by the Centers for Diseases Control. More than 5,000 plant workers across 19 states have been diagnosed with the virus as of April 27, according to the CDC. Other nonprofits tracking the disease say those figures are much higher, with as many as 12,608 workers diagnosed with the disease as of May 11, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network.
Despite President Donald Trump’s executive order mandating that meatpacking plants stay open, customers have already begun looking elsewhere for meat products.
“It’s funny to me, but it sort of clicks in their heads: ‘Oh, what about a local butcher shop?’” Webb said.
Business has been increasing at Revival Butchery, and Webb said he hopes at least some of that new business continues even after society returns to some semblance of normalcy.
“I think people are realizing there’s actually a big difference a local butcher shop can offer compared to the big grocery chains,” he said. “The ‘Shop Local’ movement has been huge in allowing us to keep open and expand the way we have. We’re incredibly grateful, and hope to be here a long time.”