Do big-box retailers have you longing for a more personal touch when you’re buying the foods that you feed your family? Red Bluff is home to a shop that serves up premium quality meats, produce and more, topping off the experience with a laser-sharp focus on customer service.
Dwayne and Barbra Casteel own and operate A&R Custom Butchering, and they’ve dedicated themselves to its success. Their reputation for taking pride in what they do has helped them build a loyal following of local customers.
“We live in a small community, and you can make or break your business’ reputation in a very short time,” Barbra says. “It only takes one bad customer service experience.”
And the secret of their spectacular service is out: A&R Custom Butchering was recently named Tehama County Business of the Quarter by the Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce and the Red Bluff Daily News.
A&R offers custom butchering and mobile slaughtering, specializing in domestic and wild game, which is a service appreciated by hunters, ranchers, fair buyers and more. “You tell us specifically how you want it cut up and we get it done,” Barbra says.
The shop has a full retail meat counter, produce, seafood, meat packs, deli meats and cheeses – including specialty items that are tough to find elsewhere, like alligator and frog legs.
Custom orders are welcome. “We have customers that want to buy several of one item, but have it wrapped, say, two to a package. We do that. We want the customer to be happy they came here from the moment they walk in to the moment they walk out,” Barbra says.
In January, they began making deli sandwiches six days a week, including hot pulled pork and hot tri-tip sandwiches on certain days. “I tell our staff that we need to be fast, personable and know our customers,” Barbra says. “We remember their names and we remember what they like. We have to make it where people want to drive out to us – not just to bring them in, but to keep them.”
Dwayne and Barbra were in the same kindergarten class at Antelope School; their sons, Cole, 14, and Shane, 12, also attended Antelope. “We really feel connected to the town,” Barbra says.
Dwayne started learning to cut meat at age 15 while working as a “clean-up kid” in a butcher shop in Cottonwood, where he learned from a man who was born in a meat packing house. “You can’t go to school and learn that,” Dwayne says. “If I wouldn’t have started there, I wouldn’t know that side of the business.”
Dwayne managed Raley’s and Safeway stores before coming to work for Adam and Russ at A&R Custom Butchering, which was then a tiny meat counter in Dairyville. He became a partner eight years ago, and he and his wife became the sole owners of the company last year.
The Casteels have been married for 15 years, and their sons help with the business during the summer and school breaks. “Our customers absolutely love them,” Barbra says. “It’s nice to have a family-oriented company.”
And they appreciate the privilege of being able to run a business in a community where their roots run deep.
“When you’re passionate about your job and you get to come to work every day to a job you love, it’s pretty rare,” Barbra says.