A well-respected family in the meat processing business with years of experience in the industry is back in business, operated by the next generation under a new name and in a new location.
John Butler Jr. opened 307 Processing and Sausage in Byron early this year after purchasing the facility operated for years by Dale and Nancy Robison as Marketplace Meats. He has some 50 years of experience in the business, working for many years with his father, John Butler Sr. at Cody Meats.
Butler Sr. opened Cody Meats 49 years ago when John Jr. was 1. At that time it was located next to the Silver Dollar Bar and about eight years later moved to a new location across the Shoshone River from Cody Lumber. Butler Jr. grew up with the family business.
“We ran the business,” Butler said. “I got right into it and have about 40 years (experience) in the business, since I was 10 – ever since I could hold a knife and help out.”
Butler graduated from Cody High School and worked in the oil fields locally for a year or two, then “went back to cutting meat for Dad.” He continued with Cody Meats for several years, even for a while after John Sr. sold the business around 2002.
Butler then worked in or ran meat departments at Smith’s Food and Drug in Cody, at Smith’s in Taos, N.M., and at a new City Market in Granby, Colo. He then returned to the oil patch, working for Dan Groves and Rocky Mountain Oilfield Services in Powell, then on drilling rigs for about 10 years.
A few months ago Butler came over to Byron to help the Robisons get caught up with their orders at Marketplace Meats.
“They told me they had the place for sale,” he said. “I got to thinking about it. I’d be home every night, and I know the industry. The opportunity was there, so I jumped on it and away we went.”
Butler took over the facility at the end of January, he said, “trading out” with the Robisons, then got the final paperwork signed around the beginning of May as operations continued.
He said he has big plans for the future.
“I’m wanting to be state inspected within the next year so I can ship anywhere in the state,” he said. “Now, I can only use federally inspected meat for retail. Then I could buy local beef or sheep and break ‘em down and sell them.”
What’s for sale
307 Processing and Sausage is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 to 1 at the facility in Byron at 45 East Main Street.
The company performs custom and game processing and sells cut-to-order meat including beef, pork, lamb and chicken, along with various types of sausage. A list of products at the store shows 90 percent ground beef, hamburger, rump roast, stew meat, brisket, tri-tip, flank steak, rib steak, rib eye, chuck roast, chuck eye steak, pork chops, pork sausage, brats, cheddar brats, fresh German sausage and bacon. Butler specializes in hickory smoked meats but also wants to try apple wood smoked meats.
The store offers three kinds of bratwurst, German sausage, Polish sausage, summer sausage, beet sticks and jerky, Butler said.
“I have all of my dad’s sausage recipes,” he said, noting that he has two boxes of plaques from Wyoming Meat Processors Association contests for sausage, ham and bacon over the years. “We’re doing all the sausage we possibly can.”
Butler said he’s happy to have his son Jordan, an engineering major at the University of Wyoming, working for him this summer, and he has two other employees in JoAnn Denney and Andrew Dunn.
Along with the existing facility, Butler purchased the lot to the west of 307 Processing and has room for expansion to the rear of the building. He plans to expand his coolers and add enclosed holding pens for animals behind the building, then add a retail store to the west for fresh meat and sausage, as well as frozen meat. He noted that he can already order in any type of seafood.
Butler’s family includes Jordan, daughter Korah, son Asher and son Leven.
Butler said 307 Processing has been very well received since he opened the business.
“Everybody’s been really positive and excited,” he said. “Everybody who’s been coming in here has been enthusiastic. Pam (Mayor Hopkinson) has been very excited to have us in town. We’ve had nothing but positivity. We’re trying to get our sausage and ham orders caught up. Dad’s been over to help.”
And noting the history of Cody Meats, Butler said, “A lot of people are really excited to have us back.”
By David Peck