This week, the brother-sister team of Aubry and Kale Walch made a significant step toward opening America's first vegan butcher shop in Minneapolis, as they easily surpassed their $50,000 Kickstarter fundraising goal with days to spare.
"At the beginning of last week, we were at $32,000 and we were starting to get really worried," Aubry tells Fox 9. "We had no idea what to expect, to be honest... Every day is sort of a surprise, we hear from people who are really big in our industry who contact us and are really supportive."
The Walchs are now trying to raise an additional $10,000 for The Herbivorous Butcher by Sunday.
"Our 'stretch goal' of $60,000 is to get a couple pieces of equipment, a commercial smoker and commercial steamer which will allow us to make a lot of small batches," Aubry says. "We're working on trying to take the campaign national in the next five days, and we'll see how far we can get. After that, we're in lease negotiations with a space and should be signing a lease within the next two weeks."
The current plan is for construction work on the Walchs' vegan butcher shop to begin at 1032 3rd Ave. NE in January, with opening day tentatively slated for sometime in April.
We asked Aubry whether there's any precedent anywhere in the world for the sort of butcher shop she and her brother have in mind.
"No, there's nothing in the U.S. like this," she replies. "There's a business in the Netherlands, but they're more like a frozen product... We're gonna be like a traditional butcher shop where everything is fully cooked."
Products "will be in a case, cold, just like in a typical butcher shop," she adds. "There will be cuts of 'meat' and 'chicken' and 'ground beef' in the same fashion, it's not going to be a restaurant in any way."
If you're interested to help the Walchs with their fundraising drive or to learn more about The Herbivorous Butcher, click here.