After eight months of preparation, a family of self-described “serial entrepreneurs” quietly opened the doors of Back Porch Smoked Meats & Cheese, the newest retail business in Ocean Shores, on Feb. 1.
“We were overwhelmed and humbled by the response,” said Shane Nelson, who owns the shop along with his wife, Jodi, and his parents, Alan and Doreen Nelson. “Within five hours of opening, we were reordering,” triple what they started with, he added.
Although they didn’t promote their opening, there have been rumors about a meat shop almost since last May, when the Nelsons bought the space at 861 Point Brown Ave. NW that used to house a second hand and consignment store.
Since then, doing all the work themselves, with the help of a couple friends, they’ve competed a total rebuild of the 2,100 square feet. It now includes an indoor smokehouse, walk-in commercial refrigerator and freezer, prep, storage and office areas, and retail cases, counters and displays out front.
At age 16, Alan started working his way up from cleanup at Home Meat Service in Shelton. By 1981, he’d started his own business, Alan’s Custom Slaughter, based in Olympia and serving five western Washington counties.
“I was a little tyke running around in meat shops,” Shane recalled. His mother, Doreen, explained: “Alan taught me and we taught Shane.”
They built the first mobile poultry slaughter operation in Washington, which became Shane’s first business, when he was 17 years old. They ended up owning and operating a USDA-approved processing plant in Chewelah, north of Spokane. Alan retired in 2010 and they sold the business in 2015, with Shane staying on three more years until deciding it was time for a change.
“We did some research and fell in love with Ocean Shoes,” he said. “They didn’t have this type of business in town, and we decided to move here.”
The new shop is his fifth business, coming at age 50 when he and Jodi have four adult daughters and three grandchildren.
The Nelsons plan to expand their offerings; in the coming months, but at present, the store has 34 different smoked meats, all of which are smoked on-site with a secret mix that Doreen would only describe as “a hardwood blend.” That includes three bacons, 15 sausages, 14 pepperonis and three jerkies, with more to come.
They also sell 30 varieties of gourmet cheeses, imported from around the world. They smoke six or seven cheeses. They also offer a small selection of gourmet crackers and meat/cheese accessories.
“We will rotate our stock constantly,” Shane explained, so as to always be trying new products and flavors. “As we get going and get our feet wet, we may possibly do some meat and cheese pairings, cheese of the month, some promotional things.”
Jodi and Shane chose the shop’s name, Back Porch, because “most of our fun times with friends and family have been spent on the back porch, smoking meat,” Shane said with a smile.
The store will be open seven days a week during the tourist season.
Until then they are open Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, when they will be smoking and preparing product for the next week. More information can be found online on their Facebook page, Back Porch Smoked Meats & Cheese.