Mike McKee, owner of Mike’s Meats & Farmers Market on North Wenatchee Avenue, is all about family.
Originally in the wholesale produce market, he made the move to retail using family financing to cover his start-up costs. He opened the business in mid-July and his children have worked in the store all summer.
“It’s truly a family owned and operated business,” he said. “I think it’s important for my kids to be able to work with the public, look them in the eye, and make change. I think that will serve them well.”
He got his meat counter up and running in mid-September and most of his meat and produce is locally grown. For instance, he’s got a deal with Chris Bailey of Bailey’s Farm Fresh Produce in Wenatchee, to bring in freshly picked produce to the market every morning.
He’s also got a deal with the Kallstrom family in Quincy, who provide his store with fresh sweet corn. McKee said the Kallstrom’s corn is especially fresh, and the secret is that they stagger planting in the spring so they only have a few rows of corn ripening at the same time. That way, the corn the Kallstroms supply is always fresh no matter what time of the season.
The Kallstroms also supply corn to Farmhouse Table Produce on Mission Street in Wenatchee and McKee said that he too has been talking to Farmhouse about perhaps partnering up next season. No specifics have been hammered out yet, but McKee said he hopes it will be a profitable venture because unlike Farmhouse Table, he is a for-profit business.
“They’re nonprofit. I’m hoping not to be nonprofit,” he said, emphasizing the word “not”.
One way he hopes to keep making a profit throughout the winter is by keeping his produce stocked. The only way he can do that it to use produce distributors and bring in non-local products.
But he said to him, the quality of what he sells is more important than the source.
“If you’ve got something local that I wouldn’t eat versus something from across the mountains that is much better quality, I’m gonna carry something from across the mountains,” he said.