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Retail meat locker opens in Old Franklin

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 6/12/24

A new retail meat locker opened to robust business last Wednesday. Premier Meats of Central Missouri is located in the former Snoddy’s Store building on US 40 in the Old Franklin river bottoms, …

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Retail meat locker opens in Old Franklin


A new retail meat locker opened to robust business last Wednesday. Premier Meats of Central Missouri is located in the former Snoddy’s Store building on US 40 in the Old Franklin river bottoms, a stone’s throw from the Missouri River bridge connecting Howard and Cooper counties.

Owner Kevin Beaman has plenty of experience in the retail meat business after working for more than 40 years for Jennings Premium Meats in New Franklin. The longtime meat locker closed the retail side of the business to focus on wholesale processing in January 2022.

Now Beaman, along with a cadre of familiar faces from Jennings, has filled the demand for the retail meat locker, selling fresh cuts of beef, pork, and chicken. Customers can watch as Beaman or his employees hand-cut steaks. The store even serves up deli-style sandwiches from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A combo meal with chips and a drink costs less than $10.

Premier Meats of Central Missouri will also feature smoked take-out entrees, including ribs, on Fridays and Saturdays.

“It is a big undertaking,” Beaman admitted. “And after things progressed at our last location, I said, ‘You know what, I want to maybe try this and talk with my former boss about it.’

With the blessing from his former employer, Jason Jennings, Beaman began to scout locations. Eventually, the Snoddy’s Store building became available. 

“We looked at several different locations, and then here about six months ago, this one became available, and we wanted to stay in Howard County. So, this really worked out well for us, and we were able to come in and pretty much start with a clean slate.”

A beloved Howard County institution, Snoddy’s Store closed in the summer of 2019 after the Old Franklin bottomlands were covered under feet of historic floodwaters. The building was designed to withstand floods, and the water never breached the front doors. However, valves in the store’s wastewater system were left open, allowing floodwaters to enter the building and damage much of the inventory.

The flood of 2019 is not the first time Snoddy’s found itself literally underwater. The family-owned business was situated along the northern bank of the Missouri River in Howard County since it opened in 1924. It moved once sometime in the 1930s and again to its largest location following the historic Flood of 1993.

Sylvia and Richard Durbin of New Franklin purchased and reopened the store in the fall of 2020. They closed the store last winter.

“I pretty much gutted everything and started over and got it up to what it looks like today. It was a pretty open building anyway,” Beaman said.

The renovated building is now a loving reminder of the old Jennings Premium Meats in downtown New Franklin. Even though the names are similar, Beaman contends it was never his intention.

“I did not do that on purpose. My wife and I were driving, and we were talking about it, and a truck came by me. And on the back of it had ‘Premier.’ I turned to my wife, and I said, ‘How about Premier Meats’? So, we kind of batted it around. It had nothing to do with the other.”

Another similarity includes the layout, featuring a long meat counter and several freezers. Customers can also pick up boxes of Pop’s meat sticks, which are still manufactured up the hill at Jennings. In just a few hours after opening for the first time, the store had already around 20 boxes.

Beaman said he is still bringing in inventory and hopes to begin selling frozen hamburgers and ground pork patties this week, longtime staples of just about every freezer in Howard County. Larger meat bundles will be made available in coming months.

Beaman and his team promote fresh meat sold in a clean store, with customer service fashioned from small-town values. It’s what customers have come to love for decades, traveling to New Franklin from all around Mid-Missouri just to stock up on meat. Premier Meats of Central Missouri is now welcoming back scores of those thankful customers.

“I want it to be about the community,” Beaman said. “I want to draw those people back in that used to come. Maybe they drove from the lake. Maybe they drove from who knows how far away, but they could come here. They can have a place to shop and have customer service.

“We carry all fresh meat from beef to pork and chicken,” he added. “We are strong on customer service. We’re willing to cut steaks fresh. Everything’s cut daily.”

Premier Meats of Central Missouri serves customers five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.


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