From processing deer in his own garage to owning his own custom meat shop and retail store in Isanti, Joe Demo attributes his success to his hard work, passion for good product and the support of the city of Isanti and the community.
“I started out just cutting my own because I was so cheap, then I cut my dad’s and my brother’s and then my friends’. I really liked it and thought it would be something I could really get into,” Demo added.
Cutting more than 150 deer out of his own garage was a lot for Demo, and he knew if he wanted to continue and process more, he would need to find a bigger space and expand his knowledge.
“I never thought the business would be so successful,” Demo said. “I was cutting deer out of my own garage and I just knew I wanted to get into it more, so I went to school to learn more about the process.”
Demo went to meat cutting school to learn more about cutting beef and pigs in order to expand the business as well as learn the art of sausage making.
Once he acquired the knowledge, he needed to find the space.
As a graduate of North Branch, Demo knew he wanted to operate the business close to home, and when he saw Isanti Custom Meats was for sale, he knew that’s where his journey was headed.
“I bought in 2002 and now I have a staff of seven working with me,” Demo said. “We cut around 22 beef and 30 pigs per week. The animals come in live and we do the whole process starting with the slaughter; somebody’s got to do it.”
In 2009, Demo started thinking about expanding again, this time in the retail section.
“Retail Meats came into play when Isanti was looking for more businesses to come into the city,” Demo said. “I approached the city to buy the Isanti Retail Meats lot, and in 2009 I bought the lot for $1.”
The retail business added a staff of nine to Demo’s business venture.
In 2020 Isanti Custom Meats celebrated 50 years in the city, while Isanti Retail Meats celebrated 10.
“Isanti is a really good community to own a business in,” Demo said. “We have a lot of really good customers locally as well, and our staff is great — our focus is always on the customer and how we can make them happy.”
Isanti Custom Meats is located at 19 Main Street West; Isanti Retail Meats is located just across the street at 30 Main Street West, in the city of Isanti. For more information on services or for custom processing needs, call 763-444-9502.