Business & economy

Vale meat business ready to carry on a family tradition

Jace Morrison left a job in Redmond to get a taste of the butcher business nearly eight years ago. Morrison said he has no regrets about his decision. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – Jace Morrison has no regrets about leaving his job in Redmond in 2011 and coming to Vale to learn how to be a butcher.

“The people here are great and they support local businesses,” said Morrison.

There are few area businesses that are as local as Morrison Meats, at 1018 Hawley Loop in Vale.

 Most people know the location because for more than five decades it was known as Hawley Meats and served local hunters, ranchers and anyone else who needed a butcher.

In 2017, Jace Morrison took over Hawley Meats, renamed it, and began to expand.

“I like helping people get something good on their table,” said Morrison.

Morrison said his business now features a new, mobile butcher truck and he also sells retail meat products.

“I offer a little bit more steaks, roasts, brisket, and tri-tip. Basically, I offer anything you can find at a supermarket,” said Morrison.

Morrison said his prices are about on par with big retail chains like Wal-Mart.

“It depends, and I do have some stuff that is lower but as far as the average price I am pretty much the same,” said Morrison.

While Morrison has been at the helm of the longtime local business for two years, he said he wanted to let people in the area know it may be the same business but the name has changed.

“The main reason we did that is we kinda wanted to revamp a little bit. I have a son and two daughters and if they take it over I’d like to have my name on it,” said Morrison.

Morrison said the location helps him furnish a unique service.

“Ninety percent of the meat I get in is local. And that’s great because there are a lot of ranchers in this area,” said Morrison.

Morrison Meats also offers chicken and pork.

Morrison didn’t go looking for a career as a butcher. Things, he said, just kind of fell together. In 2011, one of the co-owners of Hawley Meats – Ed Anthony – was looking to retire.

“I surprised everybody and said, why don’t I come take a look and see what it is like,” said Morrison.

Morrison came to Vale and trained with Ed Anthony’s brother, co-owner Mark Anthony, to become a butcher.

In 2017, Morrison bought the business when Mark Anthony retired.

Morrison said he bought the business because it was local, popular and had a long tradition in Vale.

“It is an interesting business and it is a dying one. Every animal you butcher is different,” said Morrison.

Morrison said once the local butcher shop was the backbone of American towns but there are fewer and fewer places that offer that kind of customized service.

“It is cool to take that animal you raise and take it to a butcher’s shop in town. And it is cool people trust me with that. I make sure they get the best quality of cuts that you can get,” said Morrison.

Morrison said his busy season is between August and February.

“When I am busy I am butchering eight cattle and five pigs a week,” he said.

He expects the addition of the mobile butchering truck to increase his business.

“I think we will get a lot busier,” said Morrison.

Morrison said he also offers lockers to store meats and the shop is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.