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Marks’s Custom Meats — a family business adventure

TAMMY COAKLEY / FOR THE EXPRESS Mark, Ian and Josh Bair of Mark’s Meats.

By TAMMY COAKLEY

For The Express

HOWARD — It has been nearly 26 years since Mark and Kim Bair started what they call their “family business adventure.”

They are the owners and operators of Mark’s Custom Meats LLC that is located at 4101 Nittany Valley Drive, Howard. The business is approved for USDA processing of pork and lamb products. Meat that is sold to restaurants, at farmers markets and grocery stores must be handled this way.

Mark’s Custom Meats is an important economic asset to the community that provides a quality butchering and processing service as well as a retail and on-line store. Mark’s Custom Meats processes USDA pork and lambs and does private labels for customers who want their hog or lamb products for resale at farmers markets.

The business will kill, hang, process, pack and freeze meats for customers. Custom curing is also a service provided at the meat shop for those people who do their own butchering at home. Mark’s Custom Meats will also process your venison turning it into patties, steaks, jerky and bologna for you that is ready for the freezer when you pick up.

According to co-owner Kim Bair, when the business began on April 1, 1994, the Bairs required the help of their three children who all were raised at the meat shop. The business has now expanded to include 17 full and part time employees.

Her husband Mark still goes to the harvest floor each week and makes deliveries in the meat truck. Joshua, one of the couple’s sons, became a full partner in the business about 15 years ago and now is in charge of the daily responsibilities of running the business. Josh, along with employee Joe Truckenmiller, who has been with the business nine years, supervise the crew of employees. The crew all work nicely together and we’re happy to have all of them working at our business, Kim said.

Kim handles the office duties for the business with some help from another of their sons, Cody Bair, who is a mental health therapist by profession and owns his own practice in State College.

The business works with the Clinton County Fair, Grange Fair and even the Lycoming Fair buyers who purchase an animal there and brings there to process it how they’d like it.

The wholesale and retail store offers an option that the Bair’s call “Build Your Own Bundle” where you can order and buy your choice cuts of beef or pork and Mark’s will call you when your order is ready. You can find more information about this service by visiting the on-line store at markscustommeats.com or by coming into the retail meat shop weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon.

If you come to the store on Saturday mornings you may find some of the third generation of Bair’s working there. Josh brings his sons Owen who is nine and the youngest Ian to work with him frequently. Ian, who is only three years old, stands behind the counter with Kim to greet customers and he has already mastered the skillful art of friendly service by asking how they can help you. Ian will continue with lively chatter with you while you wait as Kim and others work to fill your requests.

The Bair family is excited about the progress the business has made over the last 25 years, and Mark’s Custom Meats LLC looks forward to serving their customers as a family owned and operated business. The Bair’s are thankful for their regular and repeat customers and the family welcomes new customers to visit their website and store or to telephone them at 814-383-4520.

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