This story has been updated.
E-commerce business Feed the Party, which delivers grilling meats right to customers’ doors, is getting an office in Butchertown.
Although the company is still small, founder Matt Kenney said the two-and-a-half-year-old businesses is starting to grow enough that he wanted an office for Feed the Party’s three to four employees to work. During the first quarter of this year, he said, sales rose nearly 200 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
“It is pretty significant growth” during a traditionally slow sales period, Kenney said.
The growth has been spurred at least in part by a change Feed the Party made a year ago. The company switched to free shipping.
“Ever since we made that change, our business has skyrocketed,” he said. “We saw we were losing a lot of customers in the shopping cart. Amazon has created for customers in general that that is an expectation.”
Shipping perishable foods is expensive, Kenney said, because of the weight and features needed to keep the meat frozen. Feed the Party started selling larger quantities of meat at a higher price point to negate the cost of shipping.
Some packages also have changed. The Party Starter package originally included eight burgers with buns, two strip steaks, two pork chops and small tins of Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt and Smoked Pepper — all for $59.99, plus shipping. Now, it’s an $87.88 package, which includes two strip steaks, two filet mignon, bone-in pork chops, a jar of Lane’s BBQ Seasoning and shipping.
“The biggest asset we have is we are in Louisville, Ky.,” Kenney said because its central location allows for cost-efficient and timely shipping. “We are in every way a logistics company.”
Many of the processes, such as the packaging of the meats, is outsourced. Finn McDonald of Independent 2 Packaging and local food companies Creation Gardens and Shuckman’s Fish Co. and Smokery are a few of Feed the Party’s partners.
In addition to free shipping, Feed the Party started selling through Amazon.com and Amazon Prime, which has bolstered sales and allowed it to compete with companies like Omaha Steaks and Allen Brothers, he said. Feed the Party pays Amazon a commission on each sale in return for being able to list its products on the popular e-commerce site.
The next frontier for Feed the Party is discount retailers. Kenney said the packaging was just finalized, and soon the company will start negotiating with retailers to get its meats on their shelves.
“I am a little nervous about it,” he said. “It’s a completely different animal.”
Feed the Party decided to make the leap from e-commerce to brick-and-mortar stores in order to tap into rural markets where residents are more hesitant to spend $80 to buy steaks and other meats from an unfamiliar company. The company will start out selling Feed the Party-branded packages with two steaks for $10.
Feed the Party expects to move into its office on the second floor of 1007 E. Main St., part of the Butcherblock development, in July. The first floor will be occupied by Red Hot Roasters, which is moving its roasting operations to Butchertown and will operate a cafe there.
Developer Andy Blieden, who is behind Butcherblock, has brought in a variety of businesses including office tenants, retail shops and food establishments. Insider reported Monday that PYRO Gallery and a new creative collective were moving in as well.
“We’re building a community,” Blieden said. “It’s got good diversity, which I think is important.”
Editor’s note: The original version of this story identified Mattingly Foods as a Feed the Party partner. The companies no longer work together.