Craft butcher shop planned for downtown Great Falls

The space at 422 Central Ave. has been boarded up for some time now while crews worked on asbestos abatement.

By the end of the year, Drew Hicks is hoping to open Central Avenue Meats, a craft butcher shop.

During the Ignite Great Falls presentation, hosted by Great Falls Development Authority, on Friday, Hicks said the butcher shop will only use about a quarter of the 10,423 square foot space. He said there are two other businesses looking at sharing the space and they have similar timelines planned for their projects.

Hicks said he grew up in Geraldine and after college went to Denver, where he got into meat cutting.

“For as much agriculture and livestock we have in the area, we’re short on high quality meat options,” he said Friday. “We have so much great beef in the area that ends up getting shipped out of state.”

He said while working at a Denver restaurant, many of the most expensive cuts of meat on the menu were from Montana.

The plan is to offer dry-aged meat; cut-to-order; unique sausage and bacon varieties; knife sharpening; butchering classes; and “local, ethically raised” products, he said.

“It’s something we should have,” he said.

The space was built in 1897 and once housed the JJ Newberry store, Hicks said. It was most recently a fireplace shop.

He said Friday that they’re in the process of getting bid estimates and hope to start construction in March or April. Sletten Construction is the general contractor.

No permits have been issued yet through the city planning office for the project.