BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. — Sitting nestled on Broad Street next to other small stores sits a butcher shop that will transport you back in time.
In the front window is an old meat scale and other antiques that were once used at Breeden’s Quality Meats, which has been open since 1926.
But it is not just the decor that serves as a time machine of sorts. But like butcher shops of ol’, Breeden’s offers meat cut to specifications, not prepackaged. Customers can also find fresh thick cut bacon, pork sausage and ground beef. Depending on the season, the shop offers lobster tails, scallops, shrimp, quail, catfish, crab legs and oysters.
Cam and Cindy Stone bought the shop in 1988 when Cam’s grandfather decided to retire. The original plan was for Cam to run the shop for a few years, but 30 years later he’s still there.
“Becoming accustomed to making my own decisions and my own fate being in my hands was a big reason I continued,” Cam said. “It’s great being able to control what I wanted to do and which direction I wanted to take it with the satisfaction of doing it our way. There’s a lot of satisfaction when you accomplish goals and milestones knowing that it was just yourselves who did it.”
Only four owners have owned Breeden’s in its 92-year-old history with the Stones owning it the longest. Part of the reason Cindy believes that the store has been open so long is because of the customer service in the store and believes that small stores are starting to make a comeback.
“People are more interested now about where their food comes from and how it’s handled,” Cindy said. “Here most things are not prepackaged and its just customer service, you go into a big store and you can’t find anyone to talk to about a recipe it’s much more intimate and you have a relationship with your customers.”
Cindy said there are regulars who have been coming for five generations as well as some regulars who come once a year from different parts of the country.
“We have people who come down to visit family and will come in and pack the counter with everything because they can’t get it up North,” Cindy said. “We even have an elderly couple from Florida who will come in with their coolers for liver pudding and sausage so we load them up before sending them back to I-95 with their stock.”
Breeden’s also offers honey from Latta, cheese from West Jefferson, some vegetables from Georgia, and plenty of local, independent brands. They also sells to different independently owned markers, restaurants, and deli’s within a 5- mile radius of the shop.
Cindy said she loves to help customers figure out what to make for dinner and what meats and items will go best for a certain dish.
“I love to cook and I love food,” Cindy said. “I always try to help a customer and I love helping them get ideas of what they can be having for dinner.”
She even offered a few tips on how to properly cook a steak with the main focus being to keep it simple. The first tip is to always letting the steak get to room temperature, tip two is to sear the steak on both sides then move it to indirect heat to cook to the desired temperature.
Breeden’s is located at 133 Broad St. in Bennettsville near the Marlboro Courthouse.