BY LEANN DILBECK –
A young Mena business that helped to transform the downtown area with their extensive remodel and landed Mena national TV air time by attracting the Duggar Family made the announcement this week that they have made the decision to close their doors.
MeatWorks Butchery & Market owners Andy & Tracy Youngblood and Greg & Lavonne Hickl made the difficult announcement online, citing production, financial, and physical reasons for the decision. “We would soon have a production issue in the coming months and year,” said the online announcement. “Quality animals, that we trust the sourcing of, are difficult to find to say the least. And when found, are an astronomical price, which are following the commodity pricing increases, as they should. But that would require us to increase prices at least 20 to 25%.”
The families also cited that their customer base is not centered in the county but rather scattered around the state. “We run all over the state to deliver our product, while at home, we have too inadequate support. This is not a sustainable practice.”
Exhaustion to maintain the demanding business was the final reason given for the closure. Each family also runs large scale farming operations. “Sheer and total exhaustion… mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We have been at this point for a while but felt like we could persevere and push through until the other things resolved themselves. But, we made this decision [to close] to honor our families, farms, and health over our passion. We will continue to raise animals on our farms.”
The storefront will continue to be open through July 9 while supplies last, and they final deliveries will be made on July 10. Their website will remain functional for a couple of more weeks.
The store was honored with the Best Renovation/Beautification Award at the 2014 Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Banquet and was featured in September of 2013 on an episode of “19 Kids & Counting” with the Duggar Family.
Motivated by the desire to share the passion of healthier eating, the families have no regrets and expressed their appreciation to all of their supportive patrons, “To our Mena patrons we see weekly, we say a blessed thank you! Your shining support and friendship is forever valued. You are our real food heroes!”