Jones opens Emily Meats
EMILY — When he was getting a psych degree, Tracy Jones may have not considered he would have his own following from the hunting community.
Or maybe he had an inkling.
His association with wild game hunters began at an early age. Jones, who grew up in Iowa, began a lakes area legacy years ago when his parents bought a seven-cabin, ma-and-pa resort on Ruth Lake in 1984.
At 16, Jones was already working his way through the meat processing industry. When he was 18, he was allowed to handle that oh-so-sharp knife. While working on a large deer, Jones made quick cuts, taking legs off with just a few, sharp strokes.
Just before Labor Day, Jones opened his own business, Emily Meats, in a vacant former grocery store in downtown Emily. The store front sits just off the intersection of Highway 6 and County Road 1. Emily Meats, Jones Taxidermy and Wild Game Processing is open seven days a week and 24-hours by appointment.
Already the deer killed in the bow-hunting season were in process at Jones’ store with expectations of the firearms season just ahead earlier this week. Jones’ hopes to handle 400 to 600 deer, but that’s not his only business.
The beginning of a larger meat counter was in progress inside the store. The plan is to add salads and a variety of meats — beef and pork such as steaks, chops, brats, salads and custom-made items — for a full-service retail meat business in addition to the wild game. The retail meat business, which Jones has been working with the Department of Agriculture to set up, is expected by year’s end or the beginning of 2012.
Jones previously worked at Lake Country Foods, which sits farther down the highway. He said when the grocery store was bought out by a corporation two years ago he had to incorporate his wild game processing business and when there wasn’t a decision on how to split the deer season money, he decided to go out on his own.
Jones said Lake Country Foods is also going to continue to process deer. Whether there is enough business for both is unclear.
“We’ll see,” he said
But Jones said he hopes what sets him apart is his local emphasis and that following he’s developed after years on the job. He notes his store is locally owned and operated and provides jobs for local residents. Jones’ employs three people now.
At 39, Jones has already spent most of his life working in the meat industry. He previously spent 10 years working at Reed’s in Crosslake.
Jones is also a licensed, certified taxidermist, handling animal mounts and rugs. The taxidermy business helps when things slow down after the hunting season. Jones said he looks forward to adding jobs as the meat business expands.
Jones said: “I’m happy to be out on my own.”
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.