Gary Fife/Radio Communications
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma—It’s been six months since the doors opened for the nation’s Looped Square meat processing plant and according to MCN Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Trent Kissee for the tribally investment, “It’s looking really good.”
So far, he says, the numbers are encouraging, “We’ve got certain indicators that we’re looking at. We’ve got break-even points for both our retail volumes and in the back of the house. On our slaughter floor the more custom animals we can get in here the better, we’re gearing up. We’ve only had the slaughter floor going about six weeks…it’s still pretty early, it’s premature. Things look good.”
With only six months of operations information available it’s still quite early to present a thorough report he cautioned, “ I reported to BFJ (Business, Finance and Justice) yesterday. I was optimistic, but wanted to be open and honest. We’re really don’t have a lot of data to go off of yet, but we’ve only been open for six months.”
The section that greets the public is the retail store. It has the refrigeration space for the foods and meats that require the colder temperatures. It also has shelving for other foodstuffs that would compliment meals. Those shelves are not packed with items and Kissee said, it is a part of their plans not to overwhelm their inventories and costs.
“It’s pretty good right now. You want to really minimize your known loss. Especially as we are a brand new plant and brand new retail space, you run the risk, if you put too much out there, of things going bad. Of course we don’t want to waste any food.”
The operation staff keeps their eyes on customer demand and that is critical. “Being able to pay attention to those trends, the ebbs and flows as the year goes on what the customer wants is different. In the wintertime what the customer wants is stew meats, and roasts and things to make chili with. Now, everybody wants steaks. So, there’s a delicate balance you play there.”
Their location on busy Highway 75 has contributed to their popularity and success. Customers have commented, Kissee says, that they would prefer to do their shopping at a location that was convenient and not congested with city traffic.
When the plant was being opened some local residents from the area complained about possible pollution of local waterways and the air. Kissee says their facility has continued to meet federal requirements and keeps a close watch on any potential problems.
So far, he added, there are no legal actions filed nor any more ‘beefs’ heard from the local town.