Cindy Pflumm enjoys a good steak, but little did the retired bank officer think she’d own a retail store specializing in them.
Pflumm and her brother, Dan Pflumm, own Dodge City Beef, at 11101 Johnson Drive in the former Shawnee State Bank Building. The store sells all-natural beef products, including steaks, as well as pork, lamb and bison products from vendors in south central Kansas. Dodge City has a larger locker in that area where all the meats are processed. Fresh products are shipped to the Johnson County location every two weeks.
Q: What is different about your product than that found at the regular grocery store?
“Our beef has no hormones and no antibiotics,” Pflumm said. “It has no preservatives, and it’s flash frozen and vacuum packed, which preserves it better. With it being vacuum-packed no air gets into it. It will stay frozen a lot longer without freezer burn. It can also be put in water and thawed in about 20 minutes.”
In addition to the meat products, Dodge City carries an assortment of locally made items including pickles, candied jalapenos, spices, sauces and rubs. Among the most popular items is the ribeye steak, but Pflumm’s favorite is the KC Strip steak.
Q: How did you come to buy the business?
Cindy Pflumm had been working for another business in the former bank building.
“The previous owner (of Dodge City) had a dream of opening a retail operation and selling this kind of beef … and we ended up helping them with things,” she said. “The owner then approached us about selling.”
The Pflumms decided to take a leap and bought the business in March 2013.
“They were running it well … and I had been doing some part-time stuff,” she said. “We didn’t know that much, but we’ve learned a lot.”
When the Pflumms first took ownership, Cindy was still working as a banker; it made running the store challenging. Several members of the family are now involved in Dodge City; Cindy Pflumm’s nephew Brandon Pflumm manages the day-to-day operations.
“My son-in-law designed a program for inventory,” she said. “That’s helped with ordering.”
Cindy Pflumm handles the financial side of the business.
“Just learning all of the accounting and keeping up with it was a challenge,” she said. “It’s been easier since I retired.”
Q: How do you market Dodge City?
Pflumm has used a variety of outlets to promote Dodge City including advertising in the local newspaper, radio promotions and direct marketing coupons. In addition, Dodge City provided the meat for a cooking show promotion at Smoke ’n’ Fire, a local retail grilling center. And now the Pflumms are concentrating on Dodge City’s website and increasing the online ordering side of the business.
“I think it’s mainly people around here who call in an order after looking at the site and come pick it up,” Cindy Pflumm said. “It hasn’t done much yet but we hope it will pick up. We ship in Styrofoam coolers that fit inside of a box, and it’s packed with dry ice.”
Q: What have been your greatest challenges with your store?
“The Johnson Drive/I-35 closing with construction,” Pflumm said. “It’s cut into our business quite a bit. We’ve done a lot of advertising and that’s helped some.”
Another challenge has been identity.
“We’ve added ‘Retail Meat Store’ to the windows so people will realize what we are,” she said. Dodge City also participates in local Shawnee events to promote the business.
Pflumm said the family is enjoying the business. Is it profitable?
“It’s getting there,” she said. In the meantime, the Pflumms are looking ahead to the future of Dodge City. Among the things under consideration is adding poultry to the product mix. As to franchising, “we would love to do that … or perhaps a second location,” Cindy Pflumm said.
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: Dodge City Beef LLC
ADDRESS: 11101 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS