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Settling in: ‘Room to breathe’ at new Ream’s Meat Market location

Saturday afternoon is typically one of the busiest times of the week at Ream’s Meat Market. On a recent Saturday, however, customers were comfortably negotiating the aisles and the lines to buy their items.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from customers that it’s easier to walk around and shop – it’s not so crowded,” co-owner Janelle Ream said.

After decades of operating Ream’s Meat Market from a location in the heart of Main Street in Elburn, Janelle and her husband, Randy, on March 29 moved the store to its new, larger location at 250 S. Main St. in Elburn.

The move has not been without its challenges. First of all was the move itself – they did it all in one day, closing on a Monday and opening the new location that Tuesday. Then it took another whole week to get all of the equipment there, as well as a week and a half to get all three smokers up and running.

Janelle Ream said the market has been busier than usual in its first few weeks in the new location. She credits that to the fact that the store is now quite easy to find and parking is convenient, as well as “all the buzz” associated with the new opening.

“We’ve seen a lot of first-time customers at the new location,” she said. “And we’ve definitely felt the support from the community around the move.”

Janelle Ream said the additional business, combined with not being in full production mode at first, caused the market to run out of some things, including beef jerky, for a few days.

“It’s been fun and crazy all at the same time,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll look back on all of it and laugh.”

She said their sons, Stewart and Joel, have really stepped up to the challenge. Stewart is in charge of the wine and beer, and they have gotten good feedback on his choices, especially the local craft beers. In addition, his culinary skills have proven useful in making more prepared food, such as smoked pulled pork and cooked brisket.

Joel, together with a few other talented employees, has begun to take on more of the production of the sausages and other food items. He also has taken over the more technical aspects of the business, including the security cameras, fire alarm system, new point-of-sale system and the computerized outdoor sign. Janelle Ream said even the smokehouses are computerized.

“They are becoming leaders in the business,” she said.

She said they are all looking forward to a great summer and are looking for additional part-time employees to help out. Interested potential employees should visit the “Ream’s Meat Market” Facebook page for more information.

All in all, Janelle Ream said things are going well, and they are thrilled with the new location.

“It’s been great for us,” she said. “We have room to do our work; we have room to breathe.”

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