By Alicia Cunningham | May 02, 2016
Pleasant View, Utah
Stone Meats, Inc. was born with a $3 investment from a new customer. Frank Stone, founder, was paid that handful of dollars to butcher a lamb.
“So he brought it home and cut it up on the kitchen table. He then moved the business to the carport,” says Burke Stone, Frank’s son and current Vice-President of Stone Meats. Frank Stone, a butcher, could not fathom an entire career working for someone else.
“He said he did not want to work for ‘the man’. He wanted to be the man. So he moved from the kitchen table, to the carport, to his very own building in the 1970s. And 11 years ago we relocated again,” Stone says.
Over 42 years later, Frank Stone still keeps an eye on his first business. “My parents are down here, every day, and they are still helping, making decisions, and keeping us in line,” Stone says.
Stone Meat produces ground beef, patties, chub and roll stock, available both frozen and fresh.
“We package for some of the largest retailers in the country as well as the smallest,” Stone says. Their meat comes from as close as Hyrum, Utah and as far away as Australia and New Zealand, a prime source for grass-fed livestock. “Grass, which leads to a lower moisture content and a leaner meat,” Stone says.
All meat is butchered and packaged in Utah. Distribution is only limited by Stone Meats’ focus on delivering a fresh product.
“The product we package today will go on a truck and be delivered tonight. That gives the consumer a fresher product in the grocery store,” Stone says. Stone Meats is centrally located, allowing for semi-truck runs all over the Intermountain West.
Distribution continues to be a challenge for Stone Meats as the company pushes east. “We are moving into Denver, but we are losing money in distribution because the volume has not picked up. We are hoping it will eventually pay for itself as we expand into the Denver market.”
After founding Stone Meats, Frank Stone never stopped innovating. He also founded Big Boy Toys, a distributor of ATV’s, motorcycles and snowmobiles in Ogden, Utah. “My brother got that business, and I got stuck in the freezer section,” Stone laughs.
Challenges: Food safety is Stone Meats’ primary focus and challenge. “It is something that you can never take your eye off on,” Stone says. “We take our product home to our families. We feed our neighbors with it. We want the best, safest product.”
Opportunities: Stone Meats recently secured a new opportunity to provide frozen patties to a new business. “It will be a huge opportunity. It will increase business to the point where the limit will be only on what we can make,” Stone says.
Needs: Keeping good people. Stone acknowledges no one wakes up in the morning and says they want to work in a ground beef plant. “To get and keep talent is a challenge. But if people are interested in a future in food safety, the opportunities are endless here. Everyone has to eat and everyone wants to keep a safe product.”