“Old School” Approach Helps Hometown Meats Find Years of Success and Strong Connection to Customers

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Community loyalty to local business continues to strengthen Inver Grove Heights' economic development.

Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul are the types of communities that embrace and support their local small businesses. We are so proud to be a part of this community.

In an era of superstores that offers customers more choices than ever, a local business has found that bringing back an older tradition has given them to chance to find success that are rooted in strong connections with customers.

In August, Hometown Meats, located two miles east of Highway 52, at the intersection of 80th Street and Cahill, will celebrate its sixth year in business. Owner Rob Reitberger is an Inver Grove Heights native and Simley High School graduate and his wife and co-owner, Robin is from neighboring South St. Paul. They decided to bring back a tradition to help them compete in a changing retail market.

Hometown Meats is a throwback to the neighborhood butcher shop, updated to reflect today’s faster pace but devoted to customer service. “We pride ourselves on greeting our customers by name and knowing what they want to order before they do,” said owner Rob Reitberger. “People have more choices and options today than ever before. We worked hard to create a business that connects and serves our customers in a way that builds a long-term relationship that is good for everyone.”

One of their goals when they opened their shop was to restore that hometown, neighborly feeling to everything they did. Hometown Meats invests in the community and the community invests back in them. The Reitberger’s will specially make products using customers’ family recipes. “Last Christmas, a customer had 30 family members coming into town and he asked us if we would be able to make this old-fashioned potato sausage that had been their family’s tradition for years. We gave it a try and now it’s in our sales rotation,” recalled Rob. “Its that type of connection to the community that makes our job so worthwhile,” added Robin.

That community connection runs deeper than just Rob and Robin’s hometown roots. About eleven years ago Robin was in a very serious automobile accident and she spent 30 days in the hospital. The Inver Grove Heights community rallied around Robin and her family; bringing food and helping in all sorts of ways. “This shop is kind of a way for us to pay back the people in this town for everything they did for us. We want to set an example for our kids so they can truly see what it means to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” commented Robin. “Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul are the types of communities that embrace and support their local small businesses. We are so proud to be a part of this community,” added Rob.

Rich Whelan, a loyal customer who visits Hometown Meats twice a week since they opened, says, “I keep going back to Hometown Meats because of the combination of the quality of their products and their connection with the community.” Whelan goes on to say that he “finds value in Hometown Meats” that a corporate grocer could not give him.

“Traditional” Social Media Marketing
Hometown Meats relies mainly on word of mouth and customer loyalty to market their shop and six years later, their efforts are working. To thank customers like Rich, Hometown Meats offers a Loyalty Card. After purchasing a certain amount of dollars, the Hometown Meats Loyalty Card offers customers a significant discount on their next order. Rob and Robin are very active with Simley High School which is located across the street from their shop. “Our location sees a lot of traffic and we advertise at most of the high school’s athletic events. The school is one of our best customers! The athletic teams buy hot dogs and burgers for most of their events and we will donate portions of our sales to the athletic department. It’s a great connection,” explained Rob.

Added Robin, “And, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce has also been very good to us. We are members and we know many of the Chamber’s members go out of their way to support us. It’s just another example of how this community works together.”

Inver Grove Heights City Council member and President of the Economic Development Authority, Rosemary Piekarski Krech, confirmed the city’s commitment to small businesses. “The EDA offers a number of different tools to help new and existing businesses build and grow in Inver Grove Heights. We know how critical these businesses are to the area’s economic health and want to make sure we are doing what we can to help them succeed.”

Part of that economic development arm is Progress Plus which “works with the Cities of Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul to assess the needs of the overall community and grow the region’s economic base,” explained Jennifer Gale, President, Progress Plus. “Hometown Meats is a great example of what matters most for businesses; customers and the community. Small business is the backbone of this country and Hometown Meats is doing it right.”


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Amy Roberts
Connolly Kuhl Group
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Progress Plus Economic Development Foundation
since: 12/2012
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