Vilonia's Cypress Valley Meat Processor Grows, Bucks Closure Trend

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

He said he thought the Vilonia market was underserved for processing deer meat and went to Goode with his idea about opening a processing plant.

Goode liked what he heard and found a location on Highway 64 in Vilonia. The startup costs were about $100,000.

“We anticipated doing 400 to 500 deer,” Shaw said. In 2012, they handled 1,000 deer.

The service proved to be a hit, mainly because Cypress Valley vacuum sealed the meat in clear plastic so customers could easily recognize the cut of meat, Goode said.

The vacuum sealing also kept the meat fresher by several months than if it had been wrapped in traditional white butcher paper. “People were happy with the deer quality,” Shaw said.

Customers started asking if Cypress Valley could process beef, hogs, lambs and goats.

To process those animals, Goode said, Cypress Valley would want to have USDA inspection. But to upgrade the facility to meet USDA standards would have cost about $350,000, which, for the Vilonia plant, would not have been cost effective.

So in early 2011, Shaw started looking for another facility.

Romance Plant

Shaw said the owners of Goss & Son Meat Co. in Romance agreed to sell the plant, though Shaw declined to share the price. As Shaw was negotiating the deal with Goss & Son, he also was working with Winrock International.

Winrock helped Cypress Valley receive technical assistance from a USDA program in 2011 to launch its website, said Vicki Malpass, program officer for the U.S. Programs Unit of Winrock International.

Other assistance followed.



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