As your Savvy Spender, I sometimes want to know the story behind a place where I might do some of that savvy spending.  This made me interested in the new store on Franklin: The Meat House.  

Getting to know new business owners is part of my mission here on so I pulled up one hot morning and entered a protein paradise!

Paul and Donna Coon moved here a little over a year ago from New Hampshire (brrr) when Donna had the opportunity to relocate for her job in textbook sales.  Paul had spent many years in corporate engineering and had been contemplating a change and was investigating franchises. 

While they were discussing all this, they had to eat.  Where did they shop in chilly New Hampshire?  Frequently it was at The Meat House.  As customers they appreciated the product and how they were treated and another sort of marriage was born.

Living the corporate life, the Coons had moved before and had even lived in NC before: Charlotte and Winston-Salem.  But when they had a choice they picked the BEST part- right here!

The idea behind The Meat House is that it offers “one-stop shopping for a meal”.  From freshly butchered meats to pre-packed portions, the various meat and chicken options are available marinated or ready for your own recipe.  Side dishes and sauces are also sold.

The franchise agreement requires the Coons to use a percentage of local vendors (and that increases over the years as the business becomes established).  Paul gave the example of a contact with a local pastry chef to provide dessert options for the store.  As for his main product, he’s on the hunt (pun intended!) for local farmers who can guarantee volume and can provide a certified product.   If you’re reading this and you fit the bill, stop by The Meat House and ask for Paul!

Paul and Donna’s other plans are to become part of the good works as so many business owners do around here and they’ve already made contact with some folks affiliated with UNC cancer care, including SECU. 

With all the buzz around town about possible impediments to businesses from our local governments, this was an important question I put to Paul: “How was it to open a business here?”

Paul credits Chapel Hill Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett for easing his way through the process.  He also says the inspectors helped him know what he needed to have in place, which saved time and aggravation.  He did say the question of signage was one place where he had to have some back-and-forth and he would certainly like the ability to add signage facing Franklin.  However, he acknowledges that compromises have to be made to have the kind of town where people want to live and, like him, move here to open businesses. 

Overall, Paul’s experience has gone so well he has offered to be an ambassador to other new (and potential) business owners coming to our fair Chapelboro land.

I asked Paul if life was easier off the corporate track and I’m fairly sure Donna is still laughing (and that was Tuesday!).  They both agreed they are in overdrive, learning things about their business, their new town, and about running their own business in general. 

Small business owners, do you have any words of wisdom and welcome for the Coons?  I’ll be happy to pass them along right here in the Savvy Spender column.  Carnivores, any special requests?  I’ll send those along too.  Just leave a comment below or write to me at