So one of my biggest passions in life is buying local and supporting other small business, because this whole entrepreneur life can be HARD.
A friend of mine told me once that she wants to get more into the local foodie scene, but doesn’t know where to start. Which at first set me back on my heels, as to me, it’s second nature.
The more that I thought about it though, the more it made sense, most people fear the unknown. So here we are. We’ll be featuring local business’ that Jeff and I frequent, to not only introduce you to them, but to highlight the people behind the business’, the shops, and boutiques that we enjoy.
To kick this off, I sat down with Justin and Rob Schuman, two of the three men (Ritchie, Rob’s brother, had a prior commitment) behind Two Brothers Butcher Shoppe down at North Market (North Market could be considered an older cousin of Pike Street Market, for those of you unfamiliar with Columbus) to talk with them and find out what they love & what’s surprised them about bringing their butcher shop to North Market.
// WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY CAME FROM //
Two Brothers Butcher Shoppe opened it’s doors to the public November 2nd of this year, joining the impressive roster of restaurants, bakeries, and suppliers of kitchen necessities that North Market features.
Meat cutting runs in the Schuman family, dating back three generations to old world Germany. Justin’s great grandfather learned to cut in Germany almost 70 years ago before immigrating to Ohio and bringing his craft with him. Once settling on the west side of Columbus, the business exploded. Rob came up in the family shop, running it for almost thirty years, and has always known that this is what he was meant to do, where as it came slightly later to Justin.
Justin started out working in grocery store’s, and due to being a Schuman, was assigned to work in the meat department at Giant Eagle, moving on to Fresh Thyme where he began cutting. It fast became apparent to all who interacted with him, both customers and coworkers alike, that this was perhaps more than just a job to work while he figured out what he really wanted to do.
“… the more I started to cut meat, and the more that I started interacting with customers I would hear them say “I grew up getting all of my meat from Schumans’. Everybody kept referencing that, and I was standing there one day, one of the other cutters looked at me, he said to me “Dude you need to own your own business. Your name alone will draw people in. That was the first time that I started taking this seriously, that this might actually be a career for me. That’s when my dad and I started planning.”
The planning started in earnest in early Spring of this year, and after passing muster with the board of North Market, November 2nd saw them open for business.
All of their inventory is sourced locally, from famers who are also serious about thier craft. As they were lining up their suppliers, Charlie Payne, of Covey Rise Farms, sent Justin a text, letting him know that he had just gotten off the phone with Jamie Anderson, and that Jamie wanted to know if Justin & Rob wanted to sell his pork. Charlie went on to say that he’d given Jamie Justin’s phone number and that he’d be calling that night.
For Justin, it was one of the defining moments of the business, as James Anderson is now, and has long been Justin’s food hero. And, as it turns out, he’s even cooler in person; a craftsman, foodie & chef, his focus and drive runs so deep that he’s dreamt of marbling at night. James and his wife Jess run Anderson Farms, where they make sure that not only is thier farming sustainable, but humane as well.
“The animals are treated humanely and with respect. They live in family groups whenever appropriate and we never use any electric prods for wrangling. We let them roam free just like nature intended in a safe clean environment. We like for our animals to live a happy life in family groups closest to what their natural habitat would have been when ever possible. It is a humane, loving environment & it is the right thing to do.” – Andersonfarmsohio.com
I had earlier asked Justin if he had thought of reaching out to James, and asking if he’d like to work with the shop as a supplier, and was told that they hadn’t thought that working with Anderson Farms was even an option, the smile that bloomed over Justin’s face as he recounted that conversation with Charlie Payne was huge.
// SO WHY NORTH MARKET, AND WHY NOW //
More than once over the past years, they’ve had everything lined up to open thier own shop, but the time had never been right and the shop had yet to come to pass
When I posed the question of why North Market, and specifically why North Market now rather than finding a space unencumbered by a board of directors, it became clear that now was simply the right time.
“It was sort of a fluke thing. My brother has a friend who’s well connected in Columbus. When Bluescreek left, there was a big hole in the market. Rick and Peggy put out feelers to see who might know someone who would be willing to open a butcher shop. They came to my brother and they asked us, would you be willing to open a place up?”
Turns out, the right time was now.
Rob and Ritchie came to Justin, and the ball was rolling.
As for North Market, again, it was a matter of it all the pieces coming together. This time both literally and figuratively. From the cooking standpoint, having such a fantastic array of specialty shops in one place is phenomenal. Knowing that when I go to North Market I can shop from the cheese monger, or the fish monger, or the folks at the spice shop, and know without a doubt that the person I’m talking to truly knows thier stuff, is reassuring. Asking for a recommendation from someone at most chain grocery stores is iffy, at best. Asking for a recommendation from someone who’s heart and soul is poured into thier work, and who loves food on the other hand…
Jack Bennett has joined the Schuman’s at Two Brothers Butcher Shoppe, coming back to Columbus after working at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, a grass-fed farm in Connecticut, & a stint working at Alana’s here in town. Jack himself is a chef, and as such, brings a passion for food to the table, or in this case, to the counters of the shop.
“The good part about opening in North Market rather than opening in another location is that aside from having a captive audience is that it’s not a grocery store. We have produce, we have a cheese shop, a wine shop, the spice guys down there are fantastic…. The foodie part of Columbus is going to come down to get thier food. There are difficulties, sure. Parking for one but people who are looking for the best stuff around, they are going to be willing to fight whatever obstacles there are to get it.”
When I asked what their favorite thing about being a part of the North Market family was, they both agreed that it was just that. Getting to know the other vendors and thier teams, and the sense of family that exists amongst them, with Justin adding that “watching people be so excited about what we’re doing, and seeing them be as excited about it as we are, it’s awesome”.
Rob’s take on what’s been the most surprising thing so far made me smile, “I walked into North Market a little naive. The market I came from in Tennessee, I thought that those people were picky. People here want to know about the farms, how it’s all raised, it’s a whole new ball game.”
// WHAT COMES NEXT //
Now that the crazy adrenaline rush of opening has passed, and routines are being established, Justin and Rob are starting to look forward, and onto what the new year will hold.
“I think that we’re just past the exhaustion phase, and we’re onto ok, how do we make this better, how do we take those ideas and successfully implement them”
The top of the list? Getting into restaurant kitchens.
And after that?
“Down the road, a couple years from now, I want to have a food cart, I want to have a restaurant, be in other restaurants. Have a food cart that you buy a steak, I can either wrap it up for you or throw it on the grill. “
When I had asked Justin what his favorite thing to cook at home was, I was fully expecting him to tell me that it would be a cut of meat, in some form or another. Boy was I ever wrong. Turns out, he’s a soup guy.
I asked Justin if he would be willing to share any of his recipes with me, and he said yes! Below is his recipe for Poblano Corn Chowder. (This is written by a foodie and as such, assumes some basic kitchen knowledge. If you have questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out, I’m always happy to talk food with people.)
If you’re in Columbus, or even within reasonable driving distance, come get your meat from these guys.
They are so passionate about what they do, so friendly, and I am so crazy grateful to them both for sitting down with me, and giving me the glimpse into thier world.