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Four siblings combine experience, ethics, enthusiasm at Mathis Market

Family business builds on generations of farming, adds new online ordering system

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April 29, 2024

NEILLSVILLE – The Mathis Family has been dairy farming for nearly two decades.

When the family decided to branch out and open a market on the property offering locally produced products – the youngsters of the bunch were the ones to spearhead the project.

“When the thought of us starting the store came about, Gabe was still in high school,” Abby Mathis said. “That was early spring (2022). Then we officially opened in August 2022.”

Abby, 19, and older brother, Gabe Mathis, 20, said she owns Mathis Market with their two younger sisters Alaina, 14, and Anita, 12.

The fourth-generation dairy farmers said though dairy was – and still is – their family’s main focus, they had always considered expanding into other areas of commerce.

“My mom always had hopes to start a business on our farm – like a little farm store with in-season produce, meat and chicken eggs,” Abby said. “That sprouted the idea when one of my father’s friends was selling one of their farm store(front)s they had. It was movable, so we transported it on a flatbed here. That’s how the whole thing started.”

Mathis Market is located at W5325 State Highway 73 and sells various beef cuts and products from the cattle Gabe and Abby said they buy, raise, finish and have locally processed.

A closer connection

The Mathis Market storefront is situated on the driveway of the tight-knit family’s farm.

Gabe and Abby said they’re grateful for their parents’ support and the freedom to forge their own paths. 

“They did not put any pressure on us to be involved in the farm whatsoever,” Abby said. “It’s 100% our choice, and we’ve been aware of that since day one. I’m very thankful for my upbringing.” 

Though the siblings said their parents have endlessly encouraged the market, it’s become their own enterprise.

“My parents helped out with getting it all together – the initial part of it,” Abby said. “Now, my siblings and I do the majority of the work with the store. My parents have a little involvement – they give input here and there with their knowledge – but they let us have the reins.”

Gabe said when they started, they were buying the animals from their parents.

“Now, I own the majority of the animals we’re butchering,” he said. “They’re all raised in our parents’ facilities, so I pay (our parents) for the feed and the area they live in.” 

Though Gabe said he and his sisters have been raising animals for “our whole lives, basically,” they encountered a learning curve of sorts when it came to their greater involvement in the finishing process, as well as other aspects of running the business – establishing LLC status, navigating fluctuating costs, designing product packaging design and determining sales and marketing methods.

The Mathis siblings said one thing that has always remained constant through it all has been their values and high standards for raising cattle. 

“We don’t give them any antibiotics or hormones,” he said.  “They’re all fed non-GMO feeds. People like that the cows are locally raised, and they’re not from a regular grocery store that sells animals from a huge feedlot, or you don’t know where the calves came from.”

Abby said she was surprised to learn how much meat sold in grocery stores is produced outside the U.S., and how a store-bought hamburger patty can be made up from meat from 1,000 different animals. 

“A lot of people don’t quite understand what quality beef is, how important it is for their health and how buying beef from the store differs compared to beef ranchers who put the good time, effort and quality into raising (cattle),” she said. “We’re trying to raise awareness about that – not only for our process but for (customers’) health.” 

In addition, Abby said the siblings also appreciate the opportunity to live out their values alongside family.

“Once you truly appreciate what this lifestyle gives to you – and how you can give back in return – you can’t go back,” she said. “It’s unexplainable how much joy it brings to me. There are a lot of days when it’s hard, especially when you’re working with family 24-7. There’s some butting of heads, but we all grow to work past those points, and love is the ultimate barrier breaker for that.” 

Growth and gratitude

The Mathis Market store is presently open Saturdays. 

Abby said it was originally open Fridays as well, but the siblings said their respective dairy work and school responsibilities had to come first. 

“We were thinking, ‘how can we make up for the business from Fridays?’” Abby said. “That’s when we decided to put more effort into our website.”

Gabe and Abby said customers can now place orders online and make arrangements for pickups any day of the week for expanded convenience.

Depending on the season and inventory, they said Mathis Market sells beef – all cuts and ground beef aged 21 days – as well as pork and products thereof, including hot dogs, brats, burgers, snack sticks, summer sausage, shredded meat and more.

The siblings said they also sell produce, local cheeses and their favorite herbs and seasonings, offered specifically because of their natural contents and production.

The store also features Gabe’s maple syrup, which he said he started making when he was eight. 

“What we’d like to do is start making our own dairy products,” he said.

Though the Mathises don’t have a cheese processing plant on their farm yet, Abby said it could be a possibility in the future.

“That is something my family would love to do, but that requires a large investment in grade-A equipment,” she said.

Beyond considering other products for their market to sell, Gabe and Abby said their focus is on bolstering their current operation, inventory and sales.

“This spring, we’re going to build some pastures so (the cows) can be out in grass,” Gabe said. “And then we have other opportunities to sell within our community at restaurants where they want local products. Once we get to the point we have enough (inventory), then we’d be able to do that.”

Researching shipping opportunities, Abby said, is also in the works.

“Gabe and I are in the process of researching shipping our meat throughout the state or the U.S.,” she said. “That’s one of our goals.”

All Mathis Market’s meat products, the siblings said, are freshly frozen as soon as they’re processed.

Increased sales, they said, could allow them to offer non-frozen products as well.

Regardless of future possibilities, Gabe said they’re grateful for the encouragement they’ve received. 

“Between the first year we started and this second year, it’s been about double the amount of customers and how much we’ve sold,” he said. “We appreciate being able to supply them with quality food.”

Abby said none of this would have been possible without the help of their parents.

“Who else has this opportunity?” she said. “This is something I wouldn’t let pass me by.” 

For more information, visit or follow Mathis Market on Facebook and Instagram.

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