Customers flock to The Butcher Shop in Warner Robins seeking the area’s best hand-cut beef, pork, chicken and sausage. They favor its delicious homemade items, such as sides, dips, desserts and farm-fresh frozen veggies. Savory lamb, shrimp and other seafoods also are available.

“We offer a higher-end quality than you’d get in a grocery store,” said proprietor Amy Dean.

The SBDC helped Amy and her husband David put together a loan package to buy out an initial short-term partner in the purchase. It was the beginning of a long relationship between the Deans and Lisa Rackley, area director of the UGA Small Business Development Center in Macon.

“Lisa helped us put together the loan package to present to the bank,” Amy Dean said.

The Butcher Shop opened in a 2,200 square-foot space on State Road 96 with four part-time employees in 2015. Three years later, the Deans relocated it across the road, expanding into 3,400 square feet and opened a catering business.

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“After working on the loan package with the Deans, we continued working together,” Rackley said. “We started talking about their move at the end of 2016. The Deans think deeply about their business decisions. They plan well and are very deliberate in what they do.”

They have worked together on taxes, human resources and financials.

“I’m organized,” Amy Dean said. “But Lisa reminds me how important it is to keep good records, so I don’t forget the details. She looks at our books and tells us where we can make improvements, too. Lisa adds an element of trust. She knows enough about how we got started, our day-in day-out, that I trust her with the financial part of the business.”

“They do keep an eye on their numbers,” Rackley said. “They’re a good lesson for others. Even though you have 1,000 things going on, keeping your eye on the bottom line is important.”

The Butcher Shop did not slow down during the pandemic. After years of steady growth, sales jumped 52 percent in 2020 and employment doubled to 15.

“I’m very grateful for the relationship I have with Lisa,” Amy said. “She’s deeply knowledgeable about accounting, about the law. It is great to have her by our side.”