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NAIT retail meat store thriving through campus restrictions

Retail Meat Store display-2018-10-1000x594

By Alleah Boisvert

Despite the decrease of traffic throughout NAIT due to COVID-19 restrictions, the campus’ popular Retail Meat Store is still as busy as ever.

Rob Povey, the chair of the professional meat cutting and merchandising program at NAIT, says that business hasn’t changed much.

“The hours are still Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We put up some plexiglass behind the meat counters and, of course, in front of our cashier. We only allow three customers and our cashier at a time in the store, and we have that posted just outside the store and hand sanitizer. Other than that, the store hasn’t missed a beat,” said Povey.

The meat sold at the store, which is cut and processed by NAIT professional meat cutting and merchandising students, tends to sell out quickly. The store sells everything that the students produce in their labs, including fresh sausages, pepperoni, dry ribs, bacon, salmon, and other fresh-cut meat.

“We produce a little bit of everything every week. So, we sell out almost by the end of the afternoon on Thursday. Then, we start all over again the next Monday,” said Povey.

Povey said that this winter has been good for business as apprenticeship programs have started and more people have become accustomed to campus changes. Email orders have been helpful for business as well.

“It’s okay to come to NAIT just to shop at the meat store because a lot of staff [and students] are working from home. I also get a lot of email orders. This morning, I got three more email orders. So, they email me, they want a product. They tell me what they want, how many packs, and then we put that together,” said Povey.

When business at the store is good, the students have more to produce, which is beneficial to their learning. Although email orders are helpful for customers, students get a better experience when interacting with the customers who buy their products.

“It enhances the student learning. That’s the main focus of the store. Sure, it’s nice to sell the meat, but it’s part of their learning – the customer service set up and setting up the store as they would in a grocery store. We’re preparing them for industry,” said Povey.

NAIT’s Retail Meat Store is at the back of the Common Market located in the central building (O122L). The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from mid-September to mid-December, and mid-January to mid-April each year. The store closes for reading week.

The store’s menu can be downloaded on the NAIT Retail Meat Store page.

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