- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
Carnivores of southwest Ohio, unite.
There’s meat of all kinds to be had at Beef Jerky Outlet, which opened its first Ohio store Friday at 9409 Civic Centre Blvd. in The Streets of West Chester. The business serves up 200 different kinds of jerky varieties and available meats include kangaroo, bison, pork, venison, elk, wild boar, turkey, duck, pheasant, ostrich, alligator and salmon.
Gary Wicker, the store’s owner, said the brand’s concept is popular because it allows customers to sample the product before they buy it.
“That really helps them make a decision on what product they like,” Wicker said.
The 1,581-square-foot store is split into separate zones, including Smokehouse BBQ, Sweet & Savory, Hot Zone, Pepper & Spice, Classic Favorites and The BootLeggers. Products may be purchased in a mix-and-match fashion from barrels or in pre-sealed packages.
A list of exotic flavors include cherry maple, sweet ‘n’ hot, smoked, teriyaki, cajun, moonshine, roasted garlic, honey barbecue, mesquite, jalapeno, bacon, prime rib, peppercorn smoked, lemon pepper, fireball, Bloody Mary and sweet bourbon.
Damion Jeter, of Mason, stopped by Tuesday to buy some spicy Caroline Reaper jerky and professed his love for the product.
“It’s real beef jerky, it’s not some of the stuff that’s high in sodium that you can get at gas stations,” he said. “It’s more authentic than what you can get at a gas station or Walmart.”
Paula Waggoner, of Ross Twp., said she heard about Beef Jerky Outlet on Tuesday morning and decided to check it out the same day.
“We love beef jerky and wanted to come try it,” Waggoner said. “The cherry maple is really good. It’s tender, they said, because it’s smoked..”
Jerky isn’t the only product available for purchase. There are also flavored sausage sticks, popcorn, candy, chocolate, sunflower seeds, jalapeno chips, jams, jellies and hot sauces.
Two barrels of fried vegetable chips and fried green beans sit in the back of the store below packaged Pet Jerky, which is designed specifically for one’s canine companion.
Founded in 2010, Beef Jerky Outlet is the country’s first national jerky franchise. There are now 58 Beef Jerky Outlet locations nationwide with nearly 80 more planned to open this year or next, according to the company.
The appeal of the dried and cured treat, which saw sales jump 46 percent from 2009 to 2015, is partially because customers appreciate it’s low-carb, gluten-free, high-protein content, and partially because of its novelty as a food item.
Wicker said he decided to open a location of the fast-growing franchise because of those robust sales and the opportunity to open its first Ohio franchise in an expanding shopping center, one that is slated to include Bass Pro Shops, TopGolf and Main Event.
“I think it will be a big bonus to have more businesses,” Wicker said. “The more businesses, the more people it’s going to draw, which is a better opportunity for all the businesses.”