COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) — Running a small business is tough. Competition, taxes, expenses, generating revenue — it’s a constant grind. A small business in Columbiana is feeling the pinch and being very honest with its customers.
The sign board at Rankin’s Meat Market is still full, but right now, there’s just not enough meat to put in the cases.
“It’s really hard and people don’t see that,” said Kim Rankin.
Terry and Kim Rankin are sharing their story because people have noticed some of the shelves are empty, and they want people to know why.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating because when I have to tell somebody I’m out of something, it’s heartwrenching because I know I can get that on a normal basis,” said Terry.
There are supply chain issues, buying meat is more expensive, but the big one is that the customer base has shrunk.
Rankin’s had four times the amount of foot traffic during COVID while other places were closed. Now it’s owners wish those people would return.
“We want to continue this but without the customer support. We just don’t think it’s going to work,” said Terry.
It had customers willing to drive from Howland or Cortland for tri-tips or flatliners. But now it doesn’t see those customers or enough of them from right in Columbiana.
“But when you don’t have product and it stops them, you know, when they come in and they don’t see what they’re looking for. They’re not coming back, they’re not going to make those drives,” said Kim.
Rankin’s buys fresh meat a case at a time. The meat is never frozen. But that makes the price just a little bit more expensive.
“If you can buy more cases obviously the price comes down. We can’t do that because we don’t have that capability,” said Terry.
Rankin’s opened in Nov. 2018. The first 14 months were its only normal time in business. Pandemic, inflation and supply chain issues have taken a toll. The future is up in the air.
“If we do close, we want to thank you for the business that you’ve done us,” said Kim.
The Rankins have tried getting a loan and finding new suppliers. Nothing has been the perfect recipe yet, like finding good solid, reliable customers to help keep the shelves stocked.