For over three decades, Gary Hirsch has been running one of the most successful and well-known meat markets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Hirsch’s Meats.
Hirsch said he has seen a lot of changes since first opening the Plano market.
“Back in the early 1990s, the market changed, going for more pre-packaged, lower-grade meats. When the company I worked for got bought out by another company, they said, ‘Don’t worry, nothing’s going to change.’ The very next day everything changed,” he said, according to the Plano Star Courier.
Hirsch said that all of the local meat markets at the time were going out of business due to the rise in pre-packaged meats, but he “could not stand behind a counter and tell someone they would like something when I know it’s inferior.”
By 1992, Hirsch’s Meats was officially opened, employing a staff of “experienced meat cutters.” While many vendors might be more focused on how fast they can turn a profit, Hirsch said he understands that “it’s the level of quality” that really matters to his customers.
“I was told by someone the other day that if you go into a chain store, they’ll have a sign that says, ‘quality meats.’ What people don’t understand is there are different levels of quality,” he said, per the Plano Star Courier. “Low quality is still a level of quality. It doesn’t mean it’s the best quality, but it is a level of quality. … You get exactly what you pay for. Cheap meat ain’t good, good meat ain’t cheap. It’s that simple.”
The offerings at Hirsch’s Meats helped the market win multiple awards since it first opened. The market was named Small Business of the Year in 1999 by the Plano Chamber of Commerce. It also won the City of Plano’s Environmental Star of Excellence.
Hirsch said “there’s a ton of reward” in owning a small business because “your customers become friends and family.”
“In the business community, being a part of the chamber of commerce there’s such an advantage to meeting other successful business owners. They can give you great advice. … There’s a lot of unknown[s], and if you start something like this, you have to ask a lot of questions. I’m happy to know so many people, and that’s been extremely rewarding,” he said, according to the Plano Star Courier.
Despite being in business for over 30 years, Hirsch said it was difficult to navigate the industry in the beginning. He credited his accountant at the time with changing his perspective on how to approach things.
“After a year I was ready to close my business. I wasn’t making money, and I was ready to throw in the towel. That accountant said he could tell by the numbers that I was doing everything right and that I would be successful,” Hirsch told the Plano Star Courier. “He told me if I could get someone in the store to do what I was doing, I could work on the business instead of in the business. I did, and within two or three months, things were so much better.”
While making changes within the business helped keep it afloat in the early stages, Hirsch said that the market’s customers have been the reason his market has maintained its success.
“You’re gonna stay in business by the same people you see week after week. Those are the ones that make you successful. Those are the ones that bring you other customers. We have customers that have shopped here for 30 years and now we have their grandchildren that have been shopping with us, if you can believe that,” said Hirsch, per Community Impact.