In this week’s Meat & Greet post, we’re talking to someone who has been at Stoltzfus Meats for literally his entire life – Zach Stoltzfus! Zach is currently our online sales manager, but as Myron’s son, has grown up around Stoltzfus Meats and had many great memories to share.
Q: Can you share about your journey with Stoltzfus Meats? How long have you been here? What roles have you had?
A: I’ve been at my current position (online sales) since 2020 but have inhabited many different roles over the many years that I’ve been involved with Stoltzfus Meats. I grew up in the business and have fond memories from that. Along with my cousins, I spent a lot of time hanging around the butcher shop and old retail store when I was young. The meat cutters used to give me cow eyeballs as I walked through the shop in my bare feet on hot summer days (under current regulations, this would not be allowed). They instructed me to take them home and hide them from my mom, which I would dutifully do, much to her chagrin.
I started going to market with my dad when I was about 5 years old. There, I built forts out of discarded boxes and eventually started my own makeshift stand, selling lightly used “Ranger Rick” magazines for 25 cents. I believe my great-aunt Anna was my only customer.
I took on more jobs as I grew older, starting with washing dishes and extending to cutting, slicing, and virtually every aspect of retail and production. At 14 years of age, I joined the “kill floor” where my first job was flipping pig stomachs. Pig stomach is of course a PA Dutch delicacy (that we also sell online) and my job was to cut the stomach away from the rest of the digestive system, turn it inside out and empty out its contents, then rinse it and throw it in ice water. I really enjoyed learning how to cut. Using a knife to contour different cuts of meat in a precise way is an immensely satisfying trade. I don’t cut much anymore, and our operation has changed since we stopped slaughtering in 2009 and the business expanded from a local to a regional level. That growth remains reliant on the same attention to quality of those older days, even if some of our processing methods have evolved.
Before focusing on online sales, I helped develop the poultry side of the business in the 2010s. We had a good core team, and it has been fun to watch that flourish and grow under its current leadership.
Q: What does a typical day in your current role look like for you?
A: My current role is roughly 60% order fulfillment related tasks, 30% updating the website for optimal performance and customer experience, and 10% troubleshooting. I spend a certain amount of time on customer service, usually over the phone. The tasks vary day to day, but Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are our main shipping days and tend to be busier for that reason. Over the holidays the days are longer and the volume of orders larger.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I get a lot of feedback from customers, usually in regard to our customer service and the quality of our products. Knowing that we provide products and services that people value is extremely rewarding. Stoltzfus Meats has a wonderful following of loyal and appreciative customers, in part because we offer a shopping experience that they can’t get elsewhere. It is great to hear from them and, in instances where there is a problem, make sure that they are taken care of.
Q: If you could only eat one Stoltzfus Meats product for the rest of your life, which product would it be?
Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are outside of work – any hobbies, how you spend your free time, family, etc.
A: My wife, Lucy, and I have two children, one boy and one girl. They are two years old and three months old, respectively. Right now, my main hobby is probably assembling and dissembling toy train sets with my son. After the kids are in bed, I enjoy reading history and classic fiction, my favorite being P.G. Wodehouse. In addition to the meat business, I am a historian by training. In that realm, I do a bit of editing. I also enjoy (?) following Philadelphia sports.
We hope you enjoyed today’s post! One of the great aspects of being a family business is hearing stories from throughout the years from various members of the family. We enjoyed hearing Zach’s memories from the past, and appreciate him as a team member today!