After 25 years in the waterworks industry, Jim Moeller began looking for a career change.
He reached out to a longtime friend from his hometown of Greenville, S.C., who is also the chief executive officer of a specialty butcher shop franchise operation.
“I noticed they were doing well, called him up and asked if I could open up a franchise in the city of Birmingham,” Jim said. The corporate owners “believed in me and gave me the opportunity to market their concept.”
In 2010, Jim opened his first New York Butcher Shoppe franchise in the Cahaba Heights neighborhood of Vestavia Hills. The store’s fresh meats, specialty foods, assorted wines and exceptional customer service appealed so well to area consumers that the store had the highest volume in the entire New York Butcher Shoppe system in 2018 and 2019. Jim was able to pay his loans off years early and open a second location in the Greystone area of Shelby County by April 2019.
Although the two stores are only seven miles apart, Jim’s franchises in Cahaba Heights and Greystone both remain among the top-performing in the entire group of 14 corporate or franchise owned stores in South and North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
Giving Employees Chance to Succeed
“It sure is fun contributing to the business climate of the state of Alabama and having the opportunity to provide my employees a chance to succeed and support their own families,” Jim said. “I am very blessed and thankful to be pursuing a wonderful career.”
Jim’s two franchise shops employ 11. “The staff are the engine that make my business run,” he said.
Revenue has continued to rise even in the pandemic for the 10-year-old business. In the early months, although the stores had limited operating hours, Jim and his staff were working 80- to 90-hour workweeks trying to keep up with the demand for the meat market’s premium meats, chef-prepared take-home entrees and mega-sized deli sandwiches.
In the fall of 2018, more than a year and a half before the pandemic, the shops had partnered with Shipt, the Alabama-based grocery and essentials delivery app and shopper network. “It’s almost as if we have a third store,” Jim said of integrating delivery into his business model. That partnership had already paid off before the spring of 2020. Now, it is a necessity.
Another pre-pandemic innovation that paid off for Jim’s New York Butcher Shoppe franchise stores is its transparency about profits and losses with employees and an incentive bonus program.
“Not only do we constantly encourage our employees to provide excellent customer service, but also to be aware of the total business operation,” said Jim. “As the performance of the store goes, so does the amount of the employees’ bonus.
“It gives our employees a sense of ownership,” he added. “They become more vested in the business.”
Putting Customers Who Are Like Family First
Besides a stellar staff, Jim also boasts of “a great customer base. Our customers are more like friends. We get so many repeat customers, they feel like family.”
That family feel filters down from the boss. One customer told Alabama Retailer, “Jim learns your name. Talks to you. He’s not trying to sell you anything, he is just genuinely interested in what is going on with you.”
The CEO for Butcher Shoppes International agrees, “Jim starts and ends every day with the customers’ interests foremost in his mind. He develops his staff and the routines of his business with the customer central to all that is planned and executed.”
In 2019, Jim’s attention to customers, employees and community earned his New York Butcher Shoppe franchises the title of Silver Retailer of the Year in their sales category.
Karen Odle, president and chief executive officer of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce who nominated him for the award, refers to New York Butcher Shoppe as “a dream business in our community.”
In some way, the business supports more than 50 different community groups and charities. Besides being an active Vestavia chamber member, the business also was one of the first members of the Cahaba Merchants Association.
This article also appears on Pages 6 and 7 of the February 2021 Alabama Retailer
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