By Teresa Taylor-Williams
The Muskegon Tribune Staff Writer
Muskegon County – The crew at Scott Meats has done it again.
The Muskegon Heights meat market brought home top honors from the Michigan Meat Processors Association’s Cured Meat Competition in Lansing. Scott Meats was among 19 meat processors who entered 154 products into the competition this year.
Dave Pruim, Jon Chase and James Hindes comprise the team who combined creativity with quality to produce unique flavors in sausage and bacon that wowed the judges. Their work with meat grinding and in the smokehouse paid off: They earned two “Grand Champion” awards in summer sausage and bacon, and a “Champion” award for hunter sausage.
Competitions are good, but it’s the customers who are the real judges. Evidently they approve, because products have been selling extremely well, said Pruim. “We’re proud of the stuff we make,” he added.
Chase chimed in, “There’s a whole lot of pride here.”
Those who are familiar with the large white building on Broadway Avenue and the smiling faces of the workers inside know that Scott Meats is more than a meat store.
The locally-owned market has been a gem in the Muskegon Heights community for nearly four decades. It has stood the test of time while many other businesses along the same corridor have come and gone.
In 2016, owner Craig Hindes moved the business from 309 E. Broadway to a much larger building across the street at 260 E. Broadway. The new location allows for “the largest meat counter in Muskegon County,” a slogan they proudly tout to the community.
Hindes recalls being scoffed at by local banks when he took them his vision of a store expansion. They laughed at him for making such a bold move in an economically struggling city.
“They couldn’t understand us wanting to be here because they said there was blight all around us,” said Hindes.
“We keep this property clean and neat so when people come, we can give them a good experience,” he said.
Hindes said he wanted to “give a shout out” to West Shore Bank, the only one who would finance his business out of all the banks he approached.
Now, he gives a big smile when he describes how business has been so great since the expansion, that they have almost outgrown the new location.
But they aren’t going anywhere for a long time, he said.
“I’m a vocal advocate for us not to get too big. Big stores are top heavy and overpriced,” said Hindes. “They think so much about the bottom line that they forget about the customers.”
Customer service philosophy
Hindes has seen Scott Meats serve Muskegon County and beyond for 37 years. Faithful customers include Muskegon Heights neighbors, to folks in Whitehall and Holland, to those who reside as far away as Chicago and Georgia.
The prices and quality of food items are worth the drive for Reginald Gates. For years he has driven from Grand Rapids to the Muskegon Heights meat market.
“Scott Meats offers affordably priced foods. Prices are so high at other stores,” said Gates. “Thank you, Scott Meats, for helping a working man to be able to fill his freezer.”
Hindes said he is proud that three of his four children work alongside him in the family business.
And he likes the fact that the number one compliment the business receives on Facebook is the helpful employees.
Hindes doesn’t think he asks for much out of his staff: Be kind to the customers and to one another.
“To work here, you just have to be a nice person” said Hindes. “There’s a culture of kindness here, and employees must fit that.”
From leadership to staff, their aim is simple: Serve the community a quality product with decency.
For longtime customer Tanene Jackson of Muskegon Heights, she appreciates the variety, the prices and the presentation of fresh meats to choose from.
“It’s very clean and the customer service there is great. The staff are professional,” she said. “I like the fact that they give back to the community. They also have enough staff in the new building that they even help carry bags to some customers’ cars.”
Scott Meats Contact Information:
Scott Meats, 260 Broadway, Muskegon Heights, features beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, sausage, lunch meats and smoked meats. The hours of operation are Mondays, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Sundays.
For more information and for the weekly specials, call (231) 733-9573 or visit online:
Facebook: Scott Meats Inc.