News: Neillsville - Family Farm
Store Promotes Local Products (2022)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Mathis, Daniels, Wilson
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/28/2022
Family Farm Store Promotes Local Products (2022)
Family Farm Store Promotes Local Products
Shown are Sam, Stacy, Gabe, Abigail, Alaina and Anita Mathis, who are excited to host a grand opening for Mathis Market this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their farm, W5325 State Hwy. 73, Neillsville.
By Nancy Curtin
Back in August, a longtime Neillsville area family fulfilled a dream when they opened a little market store on their dairy farm just off Highway 73. Sam and Stacy Mathis, along with their children Gabe (18), Abby (17), Alaina (13) and Anita (11) all worked together to make it happen.
Sam and Stacy began renting their cows in 2001 from Sam’s parents, Howie and Kathy Mathis. Sam took ownership of the farm in 2004. The Mathis family also hosted the Neillsville Dairy Breakfast in 2019. The farm consists of 250 milking cows, a half-dozen beef, four ducks, four horses for pleasure riding, 15 laying hens and a rooster.
“The idea of a market store came from always being interested in adding value to our products available by selling direct to the community,” said Stacy.
“It’s something we had talked about for a long time,” added Sam.
It wasn’t until recently though that circumstances provided the perfect opportunity for the Mathises to start their store. Friends of the Mathis family, Justin and Darcie Daniels, had a farm store in Hixton named Garden Valley Farmstead. They decided to move out of state and needed to close the store.
After Justin and Darcie announced their move, Stacy reached out and asked about plans for the farm store.
After some conversation, the couple agreed to sell the store building to Sam and Stacy.
The planning process started in April with the intention of opening in June. The Mathises bought the store building, and began site excavation and hooking up the electricity. They encountered some challenges during the process of opening the store, including licensing, determining what they can and cannot sell, deciding what to sell, getting the food lined up to sell, and calculating the wholesale and retail costs.
“A lot of the homemade and canned goods we would like to sell are not allowed due to rules and regulations,” said Sam.
Even so, the Mathis family still has a variety of products to offer already, including meat, cheese, spices, supplements, maple syrup and locally grown produce, among other items.
“The focus is on offering ol’ fashioned food, cooking the ol’ fashioned way [and] feeding your family wholesome, unprocessed foods,” said Stacy.
She said she only plans to offer products that she herself uses, puts in her pantry or feeds to her family.
“We still hope to make a profit too,” Sam jokingly commented.
The store is a team effort, as each family member has their own task or chore in store’s operation.
Gabe handles the sourcing of the meat (beef and pork) in store. The chicken offered was raised on the Mathis farm. The beef offered is from local farms and the pork was bought at the Clark County Fair livestock auction from Brennan Wilson, son of Ben and Leah Wilson of Neillsville. Stacy said she has received requests for lamb, but the family hasn’t decided if they want to pursue that or not. The family has also discussed raising beef down the road and possibly pigs.
Alaina stocks the shelves and runs the cash register. Anita entered all the inventory into the computer and also helps with the register. Abby navigates the social media marketing. Even Grandma Kathy does her part with word of mouth and helping in the store.
Most of the products for sale are locally sourced. The store offers a variety of cheeses from Lynn Dairy. The charcuterie boards are handmade by one of the mechanics on the farm. Gabe makes the maple syrup. Alaina makes natural beeswax candles with essential oils. The produce comes from the Mathis farm and other local growers.
The plan is to expand the variety of cheeses and selection of flavors, with the addition of raw-milk cheeses and possibly milk and butter. Sam and Stacy also hope to expand enough to market their own beef while supplementing from neighboring farmers.
Although the Mathises are just getting started with their business venture, Sam and Stacy say the benefits have already been manifold.
“A lot of the purpose in this is to educate the children, giving them the opportunity to learn from start to finish how to run a business—all while doing this as a family,” said Stacy.
She and Sam said they made sure to include the kids in the decision-making process as they were getting the business going and they listen to the kids’ ideas for how to make it better.
“And it’s helping them understand the circle of life and death, how the animals are sustaining us. It’s a natural process to be respected,” said Stacy.
“The store is also bringing some diversification to the farm. It’s bringing in another source of income without expanding the dairy,” Sam said.
He said the store had been a great learning opportunity for everyone involved.
Mathis Market is at W5325 State Hwy. 73, Neillsville. Store hours are Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 715-937-1976, visit mathisfarmmarket.com or visit the “Mathis Market” Facebook page.
The Mathis family invites the public to the grand opening of Mathis Market this Saturday, Oct. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be specials on store items, giveaways and farm tours. Food and refreshments will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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