Former franchise owner goes into business for himself

Jason Zotek and employee Harmen Bommassar are a part of the team at the newly opened JKs Local Meat Cave. The shop at 1270 Dogwood St. opened on Jan. 19.   - Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror
Jason Zotek and employee Harmen Bommassar are a part of the team at the newly opened JKs Local Meat Cave. The shop at 1270 Dogwood St. opened on Jan. 19.
— image credit: Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror

Jason Zotek stepped away from his job as a heavy duty mechanic in Fort McMurray two and a half years ago because of an injury. He ran the Jiffy Lube in Courtenay for awhile after that but didn’t enjoy it.

“I just didn’t want to work for the franchise stores anymore, I decided I wanted to do something myself,” he said.

Following in the footsteps of a friend in Leduc, Alta., Zotek decided to open a butcher shop in Campbell River.

At JKs Local Meat Cave customers will find a variety of meats, pre-made food like pot pies and perogies, and goods like honey, mustard and pickles.

“It is as local as possible,” Zotek said.

All of the meat is sourced from the Black Creek area and the other products are from the Island or the Lower Mainland.

This week they were starting to make sausage and Zotek is waiting to get approval from Island Health so he can smoke meat on the property.

The plan is to eventually be selling fresh fish and other sea food as well.

And when he has the equipment for it, he will be able to process wild game for the hunters in the area.

“I am looking forward to this venture for sure,” he said. “It is a little nerve wracking.”

The K in JKs Local Meat Cave stands for Kelly Everill, Zotek’s fiancé and creator of both the logo and the catch phrase.

“When I was ready to give up she was my strength, she stood beside me,” Zotek said.

With his friend’s shop in Leduc to inspire him, Zotek designed the meat cave to be welcoming and homey, choosing light colours and installing a fire place on the wall.

He said that his business partner, JR Justesen, told him he hasn’t seen anyone’s vision come to life so exactly.

The shop is located in the strip mall in the same parking lot as Home Hardware at 1270 Dogwood St. After only being open since Jan. 19, Zotek is already making plans for expanding into the other half of the space he has leased.

Zotek is also more than willing to get involved with the community.

He was already approached by the fire department for a donation for an upcoming event where the proceeds will go to support people with muscular dystrophy.

“Getting to know all these people and suppliers and stuff is really good,” he said. “My suppliers are good to me so I try to pay that forward to the customers as well.”

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