Smart Butcher vending machine sells fresh meat
The Smart Butcher is not your local meat market guy. It’s a vending machine.
Selling a variety of fresh meat under $9, the vending machine is the only one of its kind, according to Anna Sagani, who manages Lil Mart, the Odenville, Ala., store where the machine is installed.
Sagani said the developers of Smart Butcher, Rob Harrison and Chase Evans, came into the convenient store earlier this year and asked her husband if they could place it in the mini-mart.
“We thought we could give it a try,” Sagani said. “We’ve never heard of something like this before.”
With cash or credit cards, customers can buy a selection of meats restocked by the developers every few days: a 1-pound tenderloin for $4, a 12-ounce rib-eye for $5, a New York strip for $6, two pounds of hamburger beef for $6.99 and 2 pounds of sirloin tips for $8.95.
“Right now, we’re out of the tenderloin,” Sagani said. “We’re also running low on the rib-eye.”
The Smart Butcher has been in Lil Mart for 15 days. Sagani said at least 10 people have visited the store each day just to see it. About four or five people make purchases each day.
“First, people were like, ‘Meat in a machine? Come on, now,’” said Sagani. “But now people from far away come to look at it. And people who live nearby come here so they don’t have to go to the nearest grocery store, which is six or seven miles away.”
Lil Mart offers some sausages in its freezer section, but the Smart Butcher carries most of the store’s meat products.
Sagani is unsure what’s next for the vending machine. “They don’t have another one ready yet. I know they’re working on it, but I don’t how soon it could be."
-- Rosanna Xia
Photo: Cuts of meat. Credit: William Thomas Cain / Getty Images