Youngstown Cattle Co. Opens Poland Retail Store

POLAND, Ohio – On its surface, an auto dealership executive venturing into the retail beef industry may appear unusual.

Yet inspiration can come at any time and in many forms.

George Gabriel, a vice president for the Ken Ganley Auto Group, attributes his muse to watching in excess episodes of “Yellowstone” – the hit television series about a Montana rancher and his family – along with a few glasses of Tito’s vodka with his friend and now managing partner Ryan Kohler.

“We decided we would start buying heifers first, and then ended up in the steer business,” Gabriel said. “It spurred this store.”

Gabriel joined employees, friends and family at a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 22 to celebrate the opening of the Youngstown Cattle Co. at 9056 North Lima Road. The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber hosted the event. The store’s first official day of business was March 12.

“We have nothing but high-grade black Angus steers,” Gabriel said. The cattle are raised on the nearby Kohler Farms on Calla Road and then processed at a facility in New Wilmington, Pa., and at another operation in Columbiana County near Salem. There, the beef hangs for 21 days to acquire both aging and higher marbling content, improving the quality of the product, Gabriel said. Most shops hang their beef five to six days, he said.

Cattle are raised on Kohler Farms on Calla Road.

There, the beef is cut to order and then vacuum-sealed and flash frozen for retail sale at the new North Lima Road location, he said. “Instead of buying a half cow or a whole cow, you could buy vacuum sealed, flash frozen beef by the cut,” Gabriel said.

These products include ground beef, New York strip steak, beef tenderloins, ribeye steak, brisket, porterhouse and other beef products such as beef sticks, summer sausage and smoked beef sausage.

Kohler, whose family owns Kohler Farms, said he learned from his father all there is to know about raising beef. “For me, it started when I was in the fourth grade,” he said. “I always watched how hard my dad worked and how he was able to do this on the side.”

Kohler said selling half and whole beef, however, is likely cost-prohibitive or impractical for most buyers. “I think there’s a lot of people out there who maybe can’t afford it or don’t have the freezer space for it,” he said, noting a half order could cost $1,100. “This is a great way for people to get whatever they like. We’re trying to be really competitive.”

Moreover, the business model allows the company to raise its own beef, Kohler said. “A lot of times, butcher places aren’t going to be raising the cows that run through their store,” he said. “We want to be able to raise them and have quality control.”

Last year, the partners purchased four steers from the Canfield Fair that helped the local agricultural community. The company also recently delivered 1,000 pounds of beef to the Salvation Army of Mahoning County through a partnership with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

The new shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

So far, business has been good, Gabriel said. “We haven’t really done any advertising, and it’s all been sort of word-of-mouth, while social media kind of blew up,” he said. “It’s been kind of fun.”

Pictured at top: From left are Ryan Kohler, managing partner; George Gabriel, owner; and his son, George, of the Youngstown Cattle Co.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.