Dale and Roxann Phillips have been running Phillips Meat Processing since 1998 when they took it over from Dale’s parents, who opened the business 24 years earlier. Dale and Roxann turned the mom-and-pop shop into a state-of-the-art meat processing plant offering custom processing for beef, pork and deer as well as products for wholesale and retail sales.
The family owned company is well known in and around Zanesville, a city about 50 miles east of Columbus, for its meat processing services as well as its Homestyle Classics brands of hot dogs, smoked meats and lunch meats. Until a few years ago, however, most of its customers were within 100 miles of the plant.
In 2017, Phillips Meat Processing earned the United States Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Permit, a certification enabling the company to sell across state lines and expand into new markets. Around the same time, Kroger’s Columbus district invited the company to provide its central Ohio stores with its Homestyle Classics brand of bacon patties and hot dogs. Today, Phillips sells products in 127 Kroger stores in Ohio and parts of Michigan and West Virginia. Kroger has also expressed interest in selling even more Homestyle Classics products.
The USDA certification and the partnership with Kroger helped Phillips increase its brand recognition and the demand for its products. Moreover, the fact that Phillips’ meat products come from local farms and livestock auctions and is processed, cooked and packaged onsite has attracted a growing number of customers who want locally sourced food products.
To keep up with sales growth, the Phillips realized they needed to expand and renovate their plant. In 2018, they embarked on a plan to invest more than half a million dollars to purchase new equipment and enlarge and update the processing, packaging, retail and shipping areas. The changes would improve safety and energy efficiency, increase production capacity, add 10 new positions and pave the way for more aggressive sales efforts.
Dale says the company’s Ohio location has served it well. Ohio offers access to quality livestock thanks to the state’s large agricultural industry. In addition, big Ohio-based food companies like Kroger are willing to work with smaller companies, helping them grow and prosper. Geographically, the state’s proximity to major U.S. markets gives Phillips the opportunity to reach more consumers quickly and cost-effectively.
“Small businesses like Phillips Meat Processing can definitely benefit from being in the same state as other food leaders like Kroger,” Dale Phillips said. “Many of these larger companies support local products, which gives your brand exposure to a larger audience.”
JobsOhio supported the company’s expansion by providing assistance finding and training new employees.