Thomas Bentele used to make his own beef jerky until his wife, Lisa Bentele, said it made the house smell.
Bentele then had to get his jerky at Walmart, but he thought it tasted awful. That’s when the retired electrical goods supplier decided to take things into his own hands.
“I’m going to start up a business,” Bentele said. “Life’s too short to eat bad jerky.”
The Benteles have been selling their own beef jerky out of The Jerky Shop at 206 S. Buffalo St. in Warsaw for the last three weeks. The jerky, which is made using locally sourced Angus beef, comes in 14 different flavors, though the shop only sells 12 flavors at a time.
206 S. Buffalo St., Warsaw
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
One of the more unique flavors at The Jerky Shop is the steak and garlic mashed potatoes jerky, Bentele said.
“Your tongue has different taste receptors,” Bentele said. “I try to make the jerky hit your tongue at different intervals. You taste steak first and then garlic in the middle and potatoes in the back of your tongue.”
There’s also teriyaki, dill pickle, mango habanero, back woods steak and a spicy jerky flavor called El Diablo, which is made using ghost peppers.
A 3-ounce bag of beef jerky sells for $7. The Jerky Shop also sells the trimmings off the beef jerky for $4 an ounce, which customers have told Bentele is “full of flavor and has all the extra fat.”
And business has taken off, Bentele said. The couple thought they’d be running the shop on a part-time basis, and sell about 200 beef jerky a week when they first started out.
They’re now selling nearly 300 a day and have had to hire more people to keep up with the demand.
The Jerky Shop is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Bentele said they’ll also be bringing their jerky to festivals and other events around the region. You can also order jerky online at the The Jerky Shop’s website.