3.03.2010

"A cut above"

Heidi and Tim Sanders opened Sanders Meat Market in Ballston Spa last month after years spent working in supermarkets — she as a scratch baker and he as a meat specialist.

Since the Feb. 1 opening of their spacious, shiny shop in the Carousel Village plaza off Route 50, the couple has been directing their energy into forming “culinary partnerships,” as they call them, with their new and growing customer-base.

The move from their native New Hampshire to open the business was a 180-degree turn away from the culture of the supermarket business, which the Sanders describe as impersonal, rushed and devoid of a relationship between customer and provider.

“We’ve seen both sides of the coin and we really feel there’s a need for this type of neighborhood business to come back,” the couple said.

They scoped the East Coast looking for the right place to set up shop and settled on Ballston Spa because, they said, the area was less dense with butcher shops than New Hampshire. As it is, they’re competing with the new Meat House franchise in Wilton and Just Meat on Route 9, in addition to grocery stores.

The Sanders say they aim to set themselves apart by sending customers home with food preparation and storage advice in addition to their beef, veal and poultry.

Some exotic items like buffalo, calf’s liver, ostrich and pig’s feet take up shelf space nearby. Produce, bread, sweets and dry goods from some local vendors are also available. A small percentage of grass-fed and dry-aged beef is sourced from area farmers, due to little demand for the product so far, Tim Sanders said.

The couple started in the food industry about 30 years ago, with Tim working behind the counter of his family’s butcher shop in New Hampshire and Heidi following in her mother’s footsteps as a baker. At the Meat Market, they both prepare deli salads, dinner entrees and special dishes from scratch, offering prepared take-home meals in addition to fresh and frozen meat.

After decades running the slicer, Tim notes that he’s lucky to still have all 10 fingers, unlike some men in his family.

“This is nothing for us,” he said, grinning.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call the shop at 288-3405 for more information.

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