The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 7, 2014

Specialty meat market takes home competition grant

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A specialty market planning to sell quality cuts of meat took home a $10,000 grant Friday as part of the Cherokee Strip Business Model competition.

T&C Meats also took home a $500 People’s Choice Award during a luncheon Friday where the winners of the annual competition were announced.

Tyler Tate accepted both awards for himself and partner Eldon Campbell, who was unable to attend Friday’s luncheon.

Tate said he and Campbell had been working on their business plan for about a year.

“We felt there was a need for a place to buy quality products and get out great customer service,” Tate said. “We want to offer high-quality products and some specialty meat cuts and special sausages, and custom products.”

Four businesses presented videos prior to the announcement of winners. T&C Meats’ video showed footage of racks of dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes.

“What we really want to do is offer the dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes,” Tate said. The specialty cut is gaining popularity among steak connoisseurs.

“The dry-aging process takes some of the moisture out of the meat and concentrates the flavor,” Tate said.

When the announcement was made T&C Meats was the first-place winner, Tate said he felt relief.

“The nervousness went away. It was just a sense of relief,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work that had  paid off. A lot of hours writing a business plan.”

He said the money will help the two men purchase equipment — a big start-up cost — and hire an architect.

Tate said T&C Meats was looking to locate on the upper west side of Enid and hopefully will have something next spring.

Tate said the competition helped prepare him and Campbell for the next step in their entreprenuership.

“This is a huge help,” he said. “What this competition did more than anything is get us organized and develop the correct plans to go to a bank and investors to pitch our idea.

“The Autry Technology Center is an unbelievable resource that people need to take advantage of.”

Life Resources, a program focused on finding transitional housing with a faith-based program focused on successful living, took second place and won a $5,000 grant. Fashion Boutique Pearl Junkie took home third place and a $3,000 grant, and East Village Cigar and Jazz Lounge took home fourth place and a $1,000 grant.

Each of the businesses also will receive services from Autry Technology Center as part of their winnings.

The competition is sponsored by Joan and Paul Allen, Autry Technology Center, Enid Regional Development Alliance, Ward Petroleum, Central National Bank, Encompass Financial Services, OG&E and the Harris Foundation.