Julian and Lin Johnson, owners of Islands Meat Market.
Upon entering Islands Meat Market, customers are immediately treated to a warm greeting and a smile, it's a bit of genuine Southern hospitality has become a signature for owners Julian and Lin Johnson.
Oddly enough, Julian hasn't always been a butcher. A native of Columbia, he owned a successful landscape business for 20 years there. While visiting a friend at his butcher shop, Julian found himself pitching in as it got busy. After apprenticing with his friend, Julian and Lin decided to move to Beaufort to open their own business.
Open for four years, the market is Beaufort's only butcher shop. While Julian explains that business has been a bit like a roller coaster, the Johnsons have taken the time to cultivate relationships with their customers. And they attribute a friendly and personable approach to business with garnering loyalty from their shoppers, and some some regular fishing friends.
The Market boasts a wide selection of meats. “We provide high quality meat cut the way you want it,” Julian explains. They bring their pork and chicken in from North and South Carolina and Georgia, while their beef is from the Midwest. The pork and chicken has been antibiotic and hormone free for 45 days before it is sold.
They carry lamb, veal, duck, and quail, as well as exotic meats like elk, ostrich, alligator, and frog legs. Plus, Julian makes 13 varieties of sausage in house.
Examine the frozen cases around the perimeter of the store to find frozen seafood, flash-frozen vegetables, and a robust selection of prepared food. English pork pies, shrimp and lobster pies, and stuffed chicken breasts are just a few of the items to be found by those who are looking for a quick – but delicious – dinner option.
Also available at the store is a selection of sauces, rubs, and marinades, as well as Boars' Head meats and cheeses. While the Market offers a few items for lunch, they also provide catering services.
With the economy being rocky, the Johnsons have found ways to cope while keeping their customers happy. For one, they supplement the Market business by offering catering services. Whether it's a backyard barbecue or an evening wedding, they can provide a menu to suit.
They also offer a “Weekly Special for Two,” a package that includes a variety of meats to serve two people for about a week. Recently the special – which included beef, pork, chicken, and seafood – was on sale for about $50. Priced out individually, it's usually about a $100 value, but by purchasing the meats all at once, the Johnsons provide a discount.
Shopping at Islands Meat Market offers customers a bit of a throwback experience, combining precise butchering with warm and friendly service. Whether a loyal customer or a first-timer, the Johnsons and their staff look forward to helping each person walking through their door.
The Market is located at 136-2 Sea Island Parkway on Lady's Island (in the Grayco Shopping Center), and they're open Monday through Friday from 9-6 and Saturday from 8:30-6. They can be reached at (843) 525-6162 or online on Facebook.