A local online meat business thrived during the pandemic, now facing post-COVID woes

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – The pandemic has wreaked havoc on almost every aspect of the food industry across the country and in the St. Louis area.

Business owners have had to close their doors and many are hanging by a thread, still working to find staff. However, one niche online business flourished during this time, The Standard Meat Club. Owners have told us they are now facing post-pandemic challenges.

“What hasn’t seen a price increase these days?” asked Dom Bergfeld.

Bergfeld has been a Standard Meat Club customer since it opened in September 2021. He said he’s noticed price increases everywhere, especially at the grocery store.

“Sometimes I go to the grocery store, it’s $12.00 a pound, it’s $14.00 a pound, it’s $20.00 a pound,” Michael Cernuto said.

Cernuto is also a Standard Meat Club customer who said he prefers to buy his meat online because prices are more consistent. That’s exactly what Standard Meat Club owner Bobby Conn said he was trying to do. A company run by natives of Saint-Louis.

“We are doing our best to keep prices low. You know, we do a really good job negotiating with the farms,” Conn said.

Conn said they work with local farms across the country and overseas. The Standard Meat Club is an online business that ships wild, sustainable, high-quality foods across the United States. They import food from as far away as Australia.

“Everyone has to pay more to get their product from point A to point B and there’s really no way around that,” Conn explained.

The Standard Meat Club ships everything from exotic seafood to international wagyu beef to USDA-grade meat like you’d buy at a grocery store. Customers said the high-quality, restaurant-quality food was helpful during the pandemic.

“Restaurants weren’t an option during COVID so there was none of that. Having restaurant-quality meat delivered right to your doorstep was second to none,” Cernuto said.

Bergfeld said he would even host a few friends or family members during the pandemic, serving meat from the Standard Meat Club as a special occasion.

“It was nice to be able to get a good, high-quality meal at my house without having to wear a mask or do any of the extra silly stuff everyone had to do to enjoy a high-quality meal,” Bergfeld said.

A business model Conn said has thrived during the pandemic and a model he said he’s been working on to keep moving forward.

“It actually went much better than expected, we have a lot of repeat customers, even during the short opening period,” Conn said.

For now, the Standard Meat Club remains online only. However, Conn said that in the future they plan to open a storefront here in St. Louis.

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