START HERE network celebrates one of many businesses growing with team support
COLE CAMP, MO – Crowds were waiting outside the newly opened CC’s Butcher Shop in downtown Cole Camp on July 1 around 3:00 p.m. to check out one of Benton County’s newest businesses, and to catch a glimpse, and possibly a handshake, of a well-known guest to Missourians everywhere: Governor Mike Parson.
The owners, Rod and Crystal Casteel, chose July 1 as the open house and ribbon cutting for their butcher shop, that had a soft opening on May 8. Mr. Casteel spoke first, explaining how this was a dream come true for him, as he had a long history in the meat cutting industry, saying some of the best advice he ever received in the industry was, “make sure the customer is happy and comes back next week.” It was obvious this event symbolized a momentous milestone in his life, as his words were marked with emotions of the relief of getting to this point, and anxiety and excitement as the business venture takes off into the future.
Mrs. Casteel shared how growing up in rural Bolivar allowed her to get to know Gov. Parson on a personal level, sharing how her dad and Gov. Parson developed a friendship that sustained the course of her dad’s entire life. Mrs. Casteel continued and said that Gov. Parson was there for her when her dad passed away.
Governor Parson was able to attend and say a few words. His message was one of resilience. He spoke on how, “we’ve been through some rough times the last 17-18 months,” but the residents of Missouri are no stranger to being tough in the face of adversity.
“It’s great to be here in Cole Camp today. Crystal, couldn’t be more proud of you, starting off as a kid and seeing where you are today,” Gov. Parson said.
Various speakers also spoke, including Jo Ann Lane, Benton County Economic Developer, who was integral in bringing her START HERE Business Acceleration Network colleagues together to wrap their collective knowledge and resources around the Casteel’s business development.
START HERE partners are made up of organizations based in the west central Missouri region that are working to make it easier for businesses to start here, grow here, and stay here.
START HERE’s team of business counselors answered the Casteel’s questions, directed them to resources, and encouraged them through the startup process. CC’s Butcher Shop was able to get the financial kickstart it needed from the START HERE Revolving Loan Fund. The regional community development corporation New Growth coordinates the START HERE network and administers the START HERE loan fund with its parent organization West Central Missouri Community Action Agency (West Central).
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Casteel’s went back to doing what they do best, serving customers the freshest Benton County-raised beef and other fresh proteins and produce. When talking to a customer in reference to Lisa Jones, West Central/New Growth Chief Economic Inclusion Officer, Mr. Casteel looked around and said, “I wouldn’t have had any of this if it wasn’t for her.”Besides Lisa Jones and Jo Ann Lane, other START HERE counselors celebrating the entrepreneurs they hand a hand in helping are Michele Smith, Credit Building Coordinator/Revolving Loan Fund Director; Kelly Asbury, Director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center at State Fair Community College; and Amie Breshears of University of Missouri Extension in Benton County.
CC’s Butcher Shop plans on serving Cole Camp and Benton County with fresh meat and nothing pre-wrapped, and “no boxed meats” from national processors. Mrs. Casteel said, “[Rod] is one of the best meat cutters in the state of Missouri.” The owners were very thankful for all those who helped them get started, explaining how they got nudges of encouragement every step of the way.
New Growth and the entire START HERE network are on the job of starting rural revitalization here, with entrepreneurs like the Casteels and local businesses like CC’s Butcher Shop. Services include business, credit, and financial counseling and support.
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