FULTON, NY – An old-school butcher whose business got started taking orders for his signature specialty sausages on Facebook has seen steady growth and happy customers since he hung out his brick-and-mortar shingle at the Lakeside Shopping Plaza in Fulton.
The Sausage Shack owner Shawn Mahoney has been a butcher for more than 20 years. “I’ve been cutting meat probably since I was 16 and I’m 38 now, so I’ve been doing it a while,” Mahoney said. “And I got taught by the best.”
After testing the sometimes uncertain business waters for himself from home using a Facebook page to take orders Mahoney decided by the end of 2012 it was time to go legit.
“I opened up Jan. 31, 2013,” he said. “I didn’t want to jump in too quick.”
“Doing what I’ve done forever, I’ve seen what works and I’ve seen what doesn’t work,” the seasoned meat cutter said.
“I’ve seen businesses try to cannonball off the diving board and the water disappears and they’re gone. I wanted to be sure I’m on solid ground and do everything the right way when it’s time.”
After an attempt to set up shop and work from home, Mahoney said his wife Sherry noticed the place on West Broadway in Fulton was for rent.
“It was a small joint,” he said, “exactly what I was looking for.”
Acknowledging his competitors in the Oswego and Scriba area, the butcher said the location was perfect because there was no specialty meats shop in Fulton.
After initially equipping the place, slow and steady, according to plan as the money started coming in Mahoney has been able to invest in improvements as he could afford.
“I didn’t have any meat cases at first,” Mahoney said. “I just took orders online and bought a refrigerator to store them until people could come in to pick them up.”
Now, a year-and-a-half later, even with a big meat case Mahoney said space is still limited.
“So I only put a little bit of this and little bit of that in the case,” then he added, “right now it’s going nice.”
With the bigger space and increased business since his online order days Mahoney said he has added a few more staples to his repertoire like his 50/50 blend of ground round and bacon, and his custom cheddar and bacon burger – in the meat case and ready for customers to take home and slide on the grill.
But Mahoney said his best sellers are still his specialty sausages.
“I do a couple of mild Italian and hot Italian (including the triple hot angry Italian),” he said. “You know – some of the traditional stuff.”
“But then I do the Mr. Ziel – which is an apple, onion and bacon, and The Mahoney – which is the garlic, bacon and cheese, and the Philly Cheese – cheese, green peppers and onions.”
In addition to his tried-and-true, Mahoney does like to shake it up a bit.
Around the holiday seasons he said the case will have his meatball mix, pork chops stuffed with his specialty sausage and on St. Patrick’s day he featured a half-head of cabbage stuffed with Reuben sausage.
Customers can even get beef bones for their dogs.
When it comes to being a small businessman in the Fulton community, Mahoney said, “I love it. Word’s getting around. People are coming in and they’re happy with the product.”
While Mahoney may have a spicy artistic sausage flair, his conservative business style means there may be an expansion down the road, but “right now I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing,” he said.
Meanwhile, he added, “It makes me real happy knowing that other people are happy and are enjoying the different kinds of sausages they would never get anywhere else. Just knowing when I go home that there’s a good chunk of people in Fulton, Oswego, heck I even get people driving in from Rochester, just to have my sausage. It’s a very self-gratifying feeling.”
When asked if there was anything Mahoney wanted to be sure people knew about his business he said, “It’s not a party until the sausage comes out!”
The Sausage Shack is located at 724A West Broadway, across from the Fulton YMCA, North Bay Campgrounds and Cannon Pools.
The store hours are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For specials and updates check the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheSausageShack/timeline
Orders can still be placed online at http://www.thesausageshack.net/ or by calling the store 315-297-8439.