Farmer and meat-cutter goes to market with new Olivet store

Greg Saltzman is bringing the great outdoors to the city. Or at least to the small town of Olivet.
 
In mid-May, Saltzman and his wife Karen opened Whitetail Farms Fresh Market near the Olivet College athletics complex. The 6,400-square foot market at 4506 W. Butterfield Road features 1,600 square feet of food sales area, plus an in-house smoke and meat processing area. The new custom-build market expands on the family's decades of experience in meat processing, farming, hunting and just plain country living.
 
"We're gearing the market toward anyone within an 80- to 100-mile radius and we got something for everybody," Saltzman says. "We're not a big box story, and I'm into service and helping my customers find what they need when they walk in."
 
The Whitetail Farms Fresh Market is a spin-off of Saltzman's legendary Whitetail Farms Custom Deer Processing business that he operated since 1998. After consulting with the Small Business Development Association in Lansing, Saltzman decided last year to bring the business to town and to combine it with a small grocer and butcher shop.
 
"My venison processing had kept growing and growing and growing," says Saltzman. "I knew I would have to change things, so I purchased the property and started to build the business there."
 
Saltzman grew up the son of a meat cutter in Marshall, Mich. He started in the grocery business as a teen in 1975, and worked his way up from stocking shelves at the local Feldpausch to working in the meat department. He stayed in the business for nearly 30 years, then had the opportunity to help his wife run her father's farm. An avid hunter, he began processing wild meats, growing cash crops and raising beef cattle. After building a following of close to 800 customers, he knew it was time to take his business to the next level.
 
Whitetail Farms Fresh Market carries produce and grocery items that compliment the sales of fresh beef, pork and poultry. Customers will find marinades, seasonings and sauces, as well as regional produce, and can also call on him to process venison and other wild game on the premises.
 
Saltzman decked out the interior like a "man cave," carrying over the earth tones of the exterior and adding taxidermy decor in the form of a buffalo head and standing bear. He brought four employees from his previous facility and hired 9 more. He hopes to add more people and begin processing livestock in early 2016.
 
"I love the meat business," says Saltzman. "And I love my customers. I'm a farmer and a hunter and there's lots of stuff to talk about."
 
Source: Greg Saltzman, Owner, Whitetail Farms Fresh Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
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