Wall Meat Processing Plant welcomes new business owners
May 3, 2017
'Meat' the new owners of the Wall Meat Processing Plant, Ken Charfauros and Janet Niehaus.
The plant transferred ownership April 4. Charfauros, a Box Elder, S.D., native, and Niehaus, a Piedmont, S.D., native, have entered into business together before but never in a meat processing plant.
"As a veteran of the United State Air Force, serving has always been a calling," Charfauros said. "As a teenager, I worked at a butcher shop during my high school years. That was an enjoyable experience that has stuck with me for a lifetime of memories. Now that we have beef producers as friends, serving the community seem to be a vehicle to continue serving."
The new owners purchased the plant from Scott Carson, who purchased the plant from his father, Oliver Carson, who kept the plant in the family for nearly three decades.
"Scott is currently still involved and training our new team to meet the needs of the community. What a great family to take over from," Niehaus said. "We certainly have big shoes to fill."
The volume historically is about five beef per week.
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"We were concerned for our community when the meat plant went up for sale," said Cheyenne McGriff, director of Wall Economic Development. "We did some outreach in the community without much response, so we called a board meeting and board member Josh knew Charles Maude, and Charles knew Ken, so he made a good phone call."
Charles and Heather Maude are the owners and operators of Maude Hog and Cattle and friends of the new owners.
"We sell direct to consumer butcher hogs and frequent most of western South Dakota's butcher shops. It was common knowledge within that circle that the Wall Butcher Shop was for sale," Heather said. "The Wall Economic Development Committee contacted my husband, Charles, because of his working relationship with so many of the area's locally owned butcher shops to ask him his opinion on finding a buyer for the plant. Ken, his wife, Pam, and Janet are very good friends of ours, and we knew they had an interest in potentially purchasing a butcher shop. Following that conversation with the committee, Charles approached Ken and Janet with what he learned, and we were able to get everyone together to tour the plant. From there, Ken and Janet began pursuing purchasing of the plant."
Several changes and updates are being implemented including meat storage.
"Immediate changes we would like to make is to replace the freezers and coolers to more efficient models, in addition to cosmetic upgrades such as painting. We are also pursuing equipment such as a backhoe that will be used to dig and bury offal and carcasses generated by the plant," Charfauros said.
The Wall Meat Processing Plant will continue to be a family affair. Charfauros' brother Ted and his son Glen are the mainstay until Charfauros can wrap up with his "day job," he said.
They plan to add two more employees to the team, as well.
"We're grateful for the family that had the meat processing plant in the past, and we're glad Ken and Janet get to step in and join the Wall agriculture community and Wall business community. We're lucky to have them," McGriff said. "They are very hard working and very dedicated to the Wall community. They also get the need for the business, which is important. We have such a big ag community, so to have a business that can support that, that's very important to keep in Wall."
"It is a win for the community of Wall, area ranchers, and other individuals who utilize locally owned butcher shops and meat-based small business owners such as ourselves to see the Wall Butcher Shop stay open," Heather said.
"The fact that it will be operated by group of people with so much enthusiasm, work ethic and drive has us very excited for its future. We look forward to working with them in a variety of ways to promote and improve our business in addition to processing meat we feed our own family."
The meat plants ties in well to Niehaus and Charfauros' other business, C9 Catering. The two businesses will piggyback off each other. Stepping into a new community and operating a new business therein has been smooth sailing thus far.
"We do feel as thought we are part of the Wall community because the support network in Wall has been more than welcoming," Niehaus said.
The relationship and respect is returned by the city of Wall.
"We're extremely excited and hopeful for what Ken and Janet are bringing to the community," McGriff said. "From the very beginning, they've kept me plugged into what they've got going on."
"Ken's family and Janet have been longtime customers of our barbecue and butcher hog business, primarily through their C9 Catering business," Heather said. "They have always been exceptional people to work with, and among the very best at preparing whole roasted hogs for various events. As we worked together, we have had the honor of becoming good friends as well. We have no doubt they will not only succeed in their new venture, but will excel because of their work ethic, integrity, and people skills."
A tentative open house has been slated June 2. F