Traffic into Carnivore Butcher & Bottle was steady Tuesday morning, the new shop's opening day. The store on Bultman Drive is Sumter's only free-standing, full-service butcher shop.
Owner Lynn Kennedy thinks "Sumter really needed this type …
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What: Carnivore Butcher & Bottle
Where: 651 Bultman Drive
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
More information or special orders: (803) 774-MEAT (6328)
Owner Lynn Kennedy thinks "Sumter really needed this type shop."
She had been driving out of town "for years to purchase Sterling Silver meat because it is so tender and flavorful," she said. "We often met people from Sumter doing the same thing, so I researched for over a year, going to butcher shops wherever we went."
Sandi Jones, a partner in the research and organization of the business, will also work late afternoons and Saturdays at Carnivore. She said a big consideration before opening the shop was being able to have only "grass-fed and antibiotic-free beef and antibiotic-free chicken and pork. The beef is aged 24 days" and is hand-selected for optimal quality from North American Great Plains.
In addition to beef, pork and chicken, "we can also order if someone wants something special such as lamb," Kennedy said. "During the holidays, we will carry lamb and specialty meat items" by special order.
Carnivore will also have "a variety of fresh-cooked breads, casseroles, ready-to-eat hot meals and a few specialty salads. We also carry Lilfred's pimiento cheese."
As for seafood, the shop offers shrimp, scallops and salmon and will add to the selection based on demand, she said.
"I believe our bacon-wrapped filets and stuffed products such as pork chops and chicken breast will be good sellers, and our steaks will melt in your mouth," Kennedy said. "Our twice-baked potatoes have already been a hit along with our chicken cordon bleu."
For breakfast lovers, she said, Carnivore will have fresh eggs "and some of the best market bacon I have ever had and Amish roll butter" for grits and toast.
Butcher Lawrence Turner began cutting meat in 1967, "right out of high school," he said. "I trained with Winn-Dixie and went to Greenville for more specialized training."
He also worked at Shaw Air Force Base for 23 years, several years of which he was meat market manager.
Turner said he gets large cuts of meat and "cuts them down to anything the customer wants."
He said he eats meat for dinner several times a week and that his favorite cut is ribeye, which is also the steak of choice for customer service representative Ray Leidy.
Customer service rep Doris Beck prefers filet. She has 47 years' experience working in a meat market, while Leidy is a military veteran who has been in Sumter since 1999. Both said they're looking forward to meeting and working with local customers.
General Manager Eugene Ickes is also a veteran who has retail experience, much of it as owner-operator of Creative Cookery, a popular kitchen supply shop that was open for many years at another Bultman Drive location. He's come out of retirement to manage Carnivore.
He had high praise for the staff and for Kennedy for seeing the need for a butcher shop in Sumter, "especially one with such quality meats."
Ickes noted that in addition to meats, "the shop has a good selection of wines and beer. We also have local grits and rice mixes from Savor the Flavor (made and packaged in Sumter), barbecue rubs and sauces, cheeses (from Ashe County, North Carolina) and more."
Kennedy and Ickes both said customers will be able to stop by the shop in the afternoons and pick up a complete dinner, from meat to vegetable casseroles ready to heat.
They expect the shop to be completely stocked by the end of the month, Kennedy said, as additional vendors are found for specialty items.
She said she is optimistic about Carnivore's success in the community.
"I've been involved with several very successful businesses and was very lucky to learn from good business people," she said. "I've always thought do your best and love those you serve, and it will all work out. I'm so blessed to have great leaders and friends in my life, and I know they will help make this work for Sumter.
"We have an awesome staff that appreciates our customers as much as I do. Our goal is to give the best service and product to everyone that comes into the store."
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