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Nice to Meat Ya: Tim Toussaint

A journey from cashier to meat category manager

Hey, these rounds are really going crazy right now!”

Odd conversation starter? For Price Chopper’s Tim Toussaint, it’s just a typical Wednesday afternoon chat.

As a longtime Meat Merchandising Category Manager for the successful retailer, Tim’s job is, for lack of a better term, to manage meat. And after 40 years with the company he’s bound to have picked up some jargon along the way.

ToussaintTim“There’s quite a bit that goes into it,” he says, searching for an explanation for the role he’s held for 20 years now. “It’s challenging, it’s always changing. You have to stay on top of it. It’s never boring.”

Beef, ground beef, pork – that’s Tim’s playing field.

The veteran New Yorker never imagined a part-time job at 16 would pull him away from a life in central New York to a corporate office view in Schenectady. But a good job can do that to a person and Tim’s living proof that working hard can have its benefits.

“I do love the business. I love the meat end of it,” he says. “Being a third generation meat man, grocery man, I think it is in my blood because when I was 16, I wanted to work in a grocery store.”

If you’re wondering why meat, it’s because “that’s where all the money was being made and that’s where all the cool guys worked!”

“I feel very fortunate,” he adds.untitled

Cattlemen should, too.

Analyzing markets, studying trends, trying to decide when to sell and when to hold back – Tim’s job runs a close parallel to the men on horseback.

“There’s just no rhythm,” he says of his responsibility to get all 138 stores what they need when they need it.

“The phone starts ringing, the stores start calling. You’ve got 10 feet of snow in Buffalo, you’ve got three trucks that aren’t going to make it.”

Will he have enough product to cover those stores? Take solace in the fact that he’ll find it and has likely been anticipating such a scenario.

p1255722288-6There’s a bit of “Wall Street” essence to it all – no room for too much or too little. Mondays mean reviewing performance records compared to projections. A Tuesday in November could be writing an ad for January.

“Most of the meat I book, I book out front as when I feel the markets are most favorable,” he shares. “It doesn’t always work that way but it’s the game plan and I like to think I’m a little better than 50/50.”

Judging by the expansion of the family-owned chain, with locations in six states and growing, it’s safe to say Tim has become pretty good at making an educated estimate.

Rest assured there’s folks like him all over the country who share your value of quality beef.

Thanks for allowing me to tell your story,

Laura

PS–Catch up on this whole series with these links:

blackinklaura Visit Website
Born and raised in the Sunshine State, I grew up surrounded by more livestock than people on my family’s working cattle ranch. A willingness to address a crowd and an eagerness to ask questions led to my passion for spreading the word of agriculture. A lover of words, cattle and those who produce them, I couldn't ask for a better job. A Gator grad, blessed by years of learning and Tebow football, I’m a firm believer that people should be honest, lyrics should be moving and tea should be sweet. I love music, my family, my God, and of course writing for CAB.
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