jerkyHeaded this week to the Grand Canyon in our old Winnebago RV (now minus mice, we think) Mary Alyce, the boys and I stopped outside Kingman, Arizona at this place,, managed by Gus, whom you’ll find pictured below, handsome devil that he is.  And that’s Mary Alyce taking pictures of the boys in the Freshjerky parking lot at left.

Just as the sign says, Freshjerky has a limited product selection — various kinds of meat jerky including buffalo; honey (minus “expanders,” whatever those are); olives; nuts, and cold drinks.  Everything is very good for what it is and nothing is particularly cheap.  Nobody goes to Freshjerky, for example, to buy cheap jerky.  That’s why God invented truck stops.

But Freshjerky is a terrific example of American enterprise and how easy it can be to find a niche in our enormous and varied consumer economy.  I found it hard to believe at first that people would really be drawn to such a place (Mary Alyce is the jerky fan in our family). And from one look at Gus, handing out tiny bites of cowboy jerky to lure customers, they aren’t drawn by his innate sex appeal.

gusSo how is the company doing?  Just fine, thanks, though most of the sales are online — about $2 million per year.  The recession has had no significant impact yet on Freshjerky sales, according to Gus.

This is, in a way, a story similar to Parrot Secrets, which caused such a furor in this space a few months ago.  Freshjerky is perfectly mundane. There is nothing Gus does that any of us couldn’t do as well — nothing.  But he’s the guy selling $2 million per year online from a quarter acre beside the highway outside Kingman, Arizona, and we aren’t.

Heck, if Gus can do it why can’t we all?

Well we can.  And in the current recession, as more jobs are lost and people become desperate for work, more of us should try channeling our internal Gus.  We could make our own declarations of indendence by coming up with our own something good to sell.