When longtime meat industry employee Kenny Organ was talking with Ricardo Topete about where to open a meats store in western Washington, he suggested two locations: Bellevue or Gig Harbor.
“There’s two places you can get into business and do well right away, if the people accept you and you work to be part of the community: Bellevue and Gig Harbor,” Organ said.
Topete, who lives in Lacey, opted for Gig Harbor and a shorter commute. Earlier this month, Topete and his father, George, opened Harbor Farms Meats & Seafood on Kimball Drive next to Subway. The store sells a variety of high quality meats and wild fish at competitive prices. Managing his own store is a dream come true for Topete, a Los Angeles native who has spent most of his life in the meat industry.
“I was a meat cutter for about 20 years,” Topete said. “I grew up in this business. This is my life. I like to make people happy with their food on the table.”
The quality and freshness sets his store apart from bigger chain stores, he said.
“Everything is all natural,” Topete said. “We don’t add anything to the meats. All of our meats are natural.”
The fish is fresh, too.
“Pretty much everything is wild caught,” said Organ, who is retired, but is helping Topete get the business off the ground. “Even the lobster is wild caught.”
The company also sells a variety of locker packs, for folks looking to buy in bulk. For example, the Locker Pack 3, priced at $99.99, includes 23 pounds of meats: five pounds of lean ground beef, three pounds of boneless ribeye steak, 2.5 pounds of boneless beef chuck roast, three pounds of T-Bone steak, three pounds of boneless chicken breast, 2.5 pounds of beef rump roast and three pounds of pork sausage. Many other locker parks are available, as well as customizable packs.
Organ said the community has been receptive early in the company’s infancy.
“We’re very happy with Gig Harbor,” he said. “They’ve responded very well. It’s a great community, great customers. They all tell us they’re happy we’re here. We’re here to offer them quality goods and the stuff they’re looking for, that their grocery stores don’t seem to offer anymore.”
Topete agreed with Organ’s assessment.
“Business has been great so far,” he said. “The people are very nice.”
Topete added that the company’s Facebook page has already surpassed 350 “likes,” and hopes the store will become a staple in the Gig Harbor community.