Timing is everything in life and business, and that’s what it boiled down to for local butcher Andrew Muckleston.
The co-owner of Muckleston & Brockwell had worked in a butcher shop when he was young, but gravitated toward managing restaurants before returning to go to school for the trade and the open his own shop.
"I started missing cutting meat, so I left restaurants to get back into butchering to go to school for it," Muckleston said in an interview with OttawaMatters.com.
Finishing school and having a business partner ready to join the venture amounted to perfect timing, and so the journey began.
"A guy I used to work for contacted me about a similar idea and investing into it, and we kind of went from there."
Having worked in the area for a number of years, Muckleston thought the area on Beechwood Avenue could use a local butcher shop to add to its "small town feel," as it continues to grow, and he wanted to offer more than the grocery store.
Customers can pretty much get whatever they want from behind the counter, including beef, chicken, pork and lamb, according to Muckleston, who also keeps track of the source of every animal.
“When people say 'local,' it’s used way too much. There’s a lot of misleading information out there,” Muckleston said, adding he and his co-owner Lindsey Brockwell want to be as “honest” and “transparent as possible.”
Both Muckleston and Brockwell said the word ‘local’ is thrown around a lot when it comes to food, with Brockwell noting they’ve seen Alberta beef packaged in Ontario and sold in the Ottawa-area as local, but they want to stick to their own plan.
Most offerings and cuts at Muckleston & Brockwell are as locally-sourced as it gets, with farmers directly dropping off meat to cut, while others are clearly marked or noted that they’re not from the area.
"We can answer all the questions, and if we can’t, we can ask the farmer, but people want to know how they eat and where they’re raised,” Brockwell said.
It’s taken four years, but customers are now in-tune with the shop’s delivery schedule, realizing not all cuts are available ‘on demand’ in the small-scale shop, but the business keeps growing.
It’s not just the meat that makes the business stick out either, offering up a lot of your big dinner needs and a place to sit and relax but instead of a coffee bar, customers can get their own bone broth for soup.
“You can get a hot cup from the broth bar, which we switch up all the time and you can add cilantro or lemon,” Brockwell said, noting there’s lots of coffee on Beechwood and they wanted to do something different.
What started as a passion has now turned into a business, with Muckleston offering advice for those who are looking to start their own venture.
“Just because your paying someone to take care of their books, doesn’t mean they have your best interests at heart,” Muckleston said, noting keeping track of cash flow and debts is one of the biggest hurdles to a successful business.
Muckleston also advises new entrepreneurs to listen to any and all advice being offered up, and to not be afraid to make mistakes.
“Business guys come through here and tell you horror stories, so you kind of have to absorb that,” he said, adding you need to be a jack of all trades to succeed.
“Math is my worst thing, but all of a sudden I find myself being an accountant one day,” he said.
“It’s worth it, but it’s uphill still,” Brockwell added.
Those interested in the shop’s product can check out their website or stop by in person at 127 Beechwood Avenue, which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, Saturday 9 a.m to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.