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Drive through meat-market rolls into Tigard

Customers buy online then pick up in local church parking lot


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Dale McLaughlin, fleet manager at Zaycon Foods, loads groceries into a vehicle at Tigard Community Friends Church. The grocery store makes deliveries in Tigard for folks to pick up pre-ordered groceries like chicken, pork and fruits.Tucked in a church parking lot off Southwest Hall Boulevard sits the strangest grocery store you’ve ever seen.

There are no aisles of produce or cereal. There are no cashiers.

In fact, there’s no building at all.

Since 2011, customers in Tigard have been arriving at the parking lot of Tigard Community Friends Church every other week to stock up on milk, meats, produce and other items from Zaycon Foods, a drive-through meat market that travels from city to city with slabs of ham, chicken and pork in the back of a large truck.

It’s a new way of shopping, says Mike Conrad, CEO of Zaycon Foods.

“In grocery stores there is meat that stores can’t sell, and it gets old. We pre-sell everything, so when we show up, we’ve already sold it. We know whose picking it up and how much to bring. We don’t waste anything.”

Customers place their orders online, and then Zaycon schedules a meeting in their nearby town, where customers can pick up their goods.

Tigard-area customers can pick up goods nearly every week at Tigard Community Friends Church, 15800 S.W. Hall Blvd. The company also has drop off sites in Wilsonville, McMinnville and Hillsboro.

Customers are in and out within a few minutes, picking up a minimum of 40 pounds of meat at a time.

Picking up slabs out of the back of a truck gives the whole operation a strange feel. Conrad said he gets that a lot.

“People ask me all the time, ‘Isn’t it weird getting it out of the back of a truck?’ But every chicken you have ever eaten came out of a truck. It doesn’t matter if it’s a store or nice restaurant, it came from a truck. But in our case, it came straight from the farm.”

The company sells chicken breasts, bacon, milk, strawberries, peaches, sausage, steaks, pulled pork and turkey.

Bulk buy

The company started in Spokane, Wash., in 2010, when Conrad’s brother JC came up with the idea.

“He was a meat manager, and he had the idea of pre-selling 40-pound boxes, rather than taking it out of the packaging and charging for it,” Conrad said. “He realized that if you sell it in bulk, people will buy it.”

It didn’t take long for the company to expand to other markets, setting up shop in Tigard in October 2011.

“People would tell us, ‘My mom and dad live in Boise, or Seattle or Portland, can you go there?’ and we said, ‘Well, maybe.’” Conrad said.

Today, the company is nationwide, offering drop-off locations in 36 states.

The Tigard location sees about 80 customers at each event, Conrad said. They mostly request high-ticket items.

“We will have 200 cars lined up when we drop off chicken,” Conrad said. “It’s chaos.”

The idea of the company is to offer food fresher than customers can find it at a grocery store, Conrad said.

Meat is brought to customers within three days of the animal being killed, Conrad said.

“Unless you own a chicken coop, you can’t get it fresher,” Conrad said. “There is no distribution center, it goes straight from the farm to the center, so the taste is different.”

Susan Moons of Sherwood has been ordering from the company for years and said it has become a part of her shopping ritual.

“There are certain things I can’t buy at a supermarket anymore, like chicken, ground beef and bacon,” she said. “I always buy from them.”

Customers purchase 40 pounds of meat at a time, and it’s up to them to divvy it up and preserve it.

“I can parcel it up how I want and not worry about it,” Moons said. “I don’t have to worry about the pricing at the supermarket.”

Michelle Carter said she started buying from the company because she was looking for hormone-free chicken.

“It was so expensive in the stores,” she said. “It’s nice to have available, especially when you have outrageous prices at the regular grocery stores.”

The company drops off milk for customers every other week, but other items, such as chicken or ground beef, they space out, coming only a few times a year.

“By the time they come through again, your store is all gone, and you are ready for a new batch,” Carter said.

Despite it’s growing size, Conrad said most people don’t consider his company when making out their grocery lists.

“People think if they pay less, it’s garbage, especially when they get it out of the back of a truck. But once they taste it, they are in, and they get it.”




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  • 26 Nov 2014

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