Photo by Jason A. Smith
Chris Tomlin, owner of T&T Meats in McDonough, examines a tray of rib-eye steaks before displaying them for customers. He says a commitment to customer service has helped him meet people's needs.
By Jason A. Smith
Customer service, and a desire to carry on a family legacy, are among the hallmarks of a local butcher's shop.
T&T Meats in McDonough has been operational in Henry County for seven years, and offers fresh meats, including beef, fish, pork, chicken and lamb, as well as fresh, and frozen vegetables. Chris Tomlin owns the business, located at 399 Keys Ferry St.
Until his father, Ray Tomlin, died about eight years ago, he was the meat cutter at the shop. The father-and-son team initially opened T & T Meats in Jonesboro, more than 30 years ago. Tomlin said his father influenced him to join him in the business.
"He just always wanted his own, personal butcher shop," said Tomlin, 51.
"I've been in the food business all my life. I was a store manager for a big chain at one time, and [Dad] always wanted to go into business for himself, so I went with him."
They opened the Jonesboro T & T Meats 30 years ago, and it remained in Jonesboro until the store was moved to McDonough. "It was time for a different scenery," said Tomlin, who added that the credo of T&T Meats is "personal service," and is centered on providing "all-American, grain-fed food" for his customers.
"It's just a better quality," he said. "That's what people want. If you go to all these other big stores, everything's from China, or ... full of hormones. Most everything we've got is all-natural."
Prices at T&T Meats range from $3 per pound for hamburger meat, to $12 per pound for filet mignon. Vegetables are also available at the store.
Tomlin said all the fish sold at the shop is "wild-caught," and has a better flavor than what can be found in a traditional grocery store. Other meats are sold using a similar philosophy, according to Tomlin, who said there are no chemicals in any of T & T's meat products.
"We buy the best we can get," he said. "We've tried to do that for the last 30 years."
He added that one reason T&T Meats has thrived over the years, is because he strives to customize his business to the needs of his patrons.
"I know just about everybody that comes here, personally," said Tomlin. "It's like a family-oriented place. When people pull up, you know what they want."
The McDonough butcher believes in giving good customer service to reap the benefits of returning customers. "I go out of my way to help anybody, it's not all about money, " he explained. "If people come in and they're having a hard time, I let them charge stuff, or a lot of the time, I give stuff away."
Wylene Eason, who works as a financial secretary at Timberridge Presbyterian Church in McDonough, and is a regular customer at T&T Meats, said the church has conducted business with Tomlin's company for several years.
"We have a Wednesday evening meal, and we purchase most of the meat we use for that at T&T Meats," she said. "It's just good, quality meat."
Eason said she enjoys the "friendly and accommodating" service, which she receives from the store.
Although T&T Meats has been successful at its McDonough location, said Tomlin, economic woes have prevented customers from buying items from him as regularly as they have in the past. Tomlin is relying on his faith, in hopes the trend will reverse itself in the near future.
"You just have to take it one day at a time, and pray about it," the store owner said. "That's all you can do."
The butcher acknowledged also, that weather conditions, locally, have taken a toll on business at T&T Meats. He expects business to pick up in March, when temperatures begin to get warmer.
"People don't cook out a lot when it's cold," he explained. "And now, everybody's so busy, they cook on the weekends."
T&T Meats is open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 9 a.m., to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m. The store is closed each Sunday and Monday. For more information, call (770) 305-7090, or visit www.tandtmeats.com.