New ownership at Heck’s Meat
Heck’s Meat Company Business Profile
Owner: Colby Ingram (operations and marketing), as of Jan. 1
Manager: Danni Lecker
No. of employees: 3
Establishment date: 1939
Address: 250 S. Maine St., Fallon, NV 89406
Phone: (775) 423-2241
Social media: Heck’s Meat Company (Facebook) and hecks_meat (Instagram)
At an early age, Colby Ingram was learning from the best in town.
His family worked at Lahontan Valley Meats and York Meats while he was growing up and when he could see over the butcher blocks, an opportunity opened up for Ingram.
“They were teaching me the skills to be a butcher and a business owner,” Ingram said of his uncle, Lawrence Mori, and cousin, Lawrence Mori Jr., who own the two meats stores. “I can recall as a young boy my uncle giving me a butcher’s knife that was about as sharp as a butter knife and tasked me with cutting up stew meat. I have had a knife in my hand ever since.”
And since that encounter, Ingram grew up to star for the Greenwave before trying his hand at collegiate baseball and then finishing his degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. As calendar turned to 2019, Ingram became the official owner of Heck’s Meat Company, located at 250 Maine St., with the company name plastered on the north side of the wall.
“I have always wanted to own a business, especially here in my hometown,” Ingram said. “I grew up in the meat industry and it has been a passion of mine, so it was the perfect fit.”
Ingram, who graduated from Fallon in 2005, began working at Heck’s Meat last year when he and Danni Lecker, who manages the business, worked together and after a probationary period, Ingram discovered that this new opportunity was too good to pass.
“We discovered that our goals aligned and it would be beneficial to everyone, including our customers, to become business partners,” Ingram said. “We wanted to further grow this business to give our community the best services possible.
“I also wanted to harness Danni’s skills that already existed and gain knowledge from her accounting expertise, allowing Danni the opportunity to make room for her retirement.”
Heck’s Meat, which has three employees, opened its doors just before World War II and offers a variety of products, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, deli meat and specialty seasonings. They also take orders for custom cuts and wrap of harvested animals, including wild-game processing.
Ingram’s current game plan with the business is to watch it continue growing since its inception in 1939.
“I want to be able to do this without bringing change to Heck’s Meat,” Ingram added. “I do not want to go in any other direction but simply to strengthen what already exists.”
But owning a local business is more than just growth.
Ingram, who’s a certified food safety manager, said buying local has many advantages, including customer experience and providing homegrown products with specialized recipes, like their breakfast sausage.
“The biggest difference is the customer experience,” Ingram said. “You have a lot more flexibility in the product you buy and the shorter distribution channel. Big stores go through many locations of distribution before hitting the store and then the counter. These stores cannot offer the same local products that we can.
“Heck’s Meat also gives that local butcher shop experience where you see the same friendly face every time you go there. I’m doing my best to learn my customers’ names so I can greet them when they come in. Another advantage is being able to communicate with the owner, who is also the butcher. You do not have to go through several different people to get what you want. I will always make myself available to our customers.”
And the support from the community is huge, which helps Heck’s Meat provide fresher products that face rigorous application of food safety standards and have shorter distribution, Ingram said.
“Supporting our friends and neighbors is a necessary part of community whether it’s through business or personal endeavors. We all need to support our community,” added Ingram, who has family in Fallon, including his fiancé, Brittany, and five children. “Most important is simply supporting your community. It is morally the right thing to do. Most of my family is local farmers and ranchers here in Fallon, including my in-laws. Supporting our local economy is paramount.”
Ingram’s roots run deep, too. His father, Richard, served as the sheriff for many years and is married to Brenda Ingram and his older brother, Tyler, is the district attorney in Elko. As for Ingram’s kin, he has a 9-month-old son, Brantlee, and another son, Easton, due in April with fiancé Brittany Washburn. He also has three step-children: Tutie, 11; Tommy, 10; and Gannon, 6.
Since taking over, Ingram has been active on social media, pumping up the business’ offerings. From a rolled pork loin smothered with rosemary cheddar sausage, spinach and provolone cheese to sirloin steaks rolled with onion, bell peppers and provolone, Heck’s Meat has a variety of products for that last-minute dinner. And Ingram plans on taking advantage of his mother’s (LouAnn Brown, who’s married to Ed Brown) heritage by incorporating some Basque recipes.
“It helps us offer the freshest products and lets our customers know what we have special for today,” Ingram said about his marketing campaign. “Our purpose is for us to be a part of the community and this new age social media is the best way to do that. Marketing will continue to be our grass roots, word of mouth and customer referrals.”