Maine Butcher Shop Stepping Up to COVID-19 Crisis with CDFI Support
Client: Windham Butcher Shop
Client Location: Windham, ME
CDFI: CEI Maine
CDFI Service Area: Maine
Financing and technical assistance
Longtime members of the agricultural community in Maine, Nichole and Leon Sargent dreamed of owning their own business. In 2018, the Sargents approached CEI Maine following a referral from their local bank. Initially planning to build their own meat processing and packaging facility, they changed course when Windham Butcher Shop became available for purchase. With support from CEI and a collaboration of partners, the Sargents were able to buy the facility and make the company their own.
As one of few USDA-licensed processing facilities in the state, Windham Butcher Shop plays a key role in the community. The Sargents continue to build relationships with local farmers, restaurants, and businesses, while also improving the facility and job quality for employees, including mentoring new employees and working with advisors at CEI to develop HR policies and procedures. The Sargents are also adding much-appreciated perks like an employee break area and homemade breakfast burritos (filled with Windham Butcher Shop sausage of course)!
While COVID-19’s social distancing has left most of Windham Butcher Shop’s producers without product and having to readjust their herds and harvest dates, “our little crew is busting their butts and doing an amazing job stepping up,” Nichole says about her employees. With CEI’s support, she adds, “We have a much better grasp of what we’re doing now, and we understand what we need to look out for.”