When third-generation butcher and sausage maker Austin Daniels and his family moved to Montana, he noticed a resurgence of interest in small, artisan meat shops. Using his experience, Daniels opened Daniels Gourmet Meats & Sausages in July of 2017 and purchased the building in April of 2020, where consumers can find delicious products made in-house.
Daniels brings fresh, local meat into his shop, and everything is cut and smoked on-premise using the old family recipes Daniels inherited from his grandfather and father. Aside from fresh cuts of local meat, Daniels also offers 6 flavors of bacon, 32 kinds of bratwursts and German-style sausages, jerkies, snack sticks, ham deli meat, bologna, and pastrami.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the quick and unexpected need to adjust how the shop was catering to customers, Daniels and his staff took the time to provide personalized service by talking to each shopper individually on the phone. Daniels noticed a growth in his customer base as people began to look for more locally sourced products. “People who didn’t know of us tried us because they trusted this tiny little meat market where they talked to someone over the phone. Those customers have stayed,” said Daniels.
Daniels was referred to Prospera for assistance in applying for a Montana Meat Processing Grant. This funding allowed Daniels to purchase additional coolers and a slicer. Prospera also helped Daniels apply for a Growth Through Agriculture grant to purchase additional packaging and curing equipment. Speaking of working with Prospera on these grants Daniels said, “They truly held my hand. I know we wouldn’t have had the dollars or push [for those improvements]t had it not been for the initial Montana meat funding,” said Daniels.
Reflecting on his experience working with Prospera, Daniels said, “Just the level of professionalism and the resources available, I can’t say enough good about what that brings to a community. I don’t think I’ve seen any organization as hands-on as Prospera. It appears to be more of a calling than a job, and I think that’s pretty special.”