doms2By Jann Wiswall

You know you love ‘em. Those perfectly spiced and smoked beef jerky strips from Dom’s Butcher Block are one of your favorite protein snacks on the slopes or anywhere else all year round.

Thanks to hard work and a Cattaraugus County grant, there should be no shortage of these delicious treats now that Dom’s has purchased a new, top-of-the-line smoker.

“We were running through 2,000 pounds of jerky a year, along with 3,000-4,000 pounds of beef sticks, but we couldn’t keep up with demand with just one smoker, especially during peak weekends last winter,” said owner Ken Auteri.

The need was obvious, but the funds to purchase a second smoker were not in the annual budget, so the shop looked to a county program for assistance.

That program, the Cattaraugus County Small Business Development Corporation’s Micro-Grant Program, helps businesses with five or fewer employees obtain the resources necessary to help them grow and improve their profitability. New and existing businesses may apply for the program, which is focused on educating business owners about how to write business plans, and understand the basics of business accounting, pricing, selling and reporting. Once participants complete the six-week educational program, they may be eligible to apply for grants of up to $10,000 per year to fund projects that they can show will enhance their businesses and support future growth.

Tyler Auteri, co-owner of Dom’s with parents Ken and Annette, took the lead on the county program. After doing the coursework, it then took another six weeks to write the formal business plan and grant proposal.

“I learned a lot about running a business and understanding the market,” said Tyler. “The process required a lot of research about the specific equipment we needed and how it would help grow our business, but I also had to show how improving our business would also benefit the county by bringing in customers and generating sales tax income.”

The grant proposal that Tyler submitted not only documented that Dom’s would be able to keep up with demand for its smoked products including beef jerky, beef sticks, sausages and bologna, but also would enable the shop to add to their assortment of other smoked goodies, such as turkey drumsticks, spare ribs and chicken. In fact, those turkey drumsticks are already flying out the door.

“Since we opened in October 2010, we’ve seen steady growth, not only during the winter tourist season, but also year round,” said Ken. “This summer, business was way up over last year, and we expect this fall to be even better with the addition of our new products.”

Part of this growth can be attributed to the shop’s determined focus on the smoked products niche. But, Dom’s is much more than that. The butcher shop is and always has been selling the highest-quality meats sourced from the best farms around.

The Auteri’s attention to customer service — whether you’re stopping in for a couple of freshly cut pork chops for dinner or need something special for an upcoming event — is a draw all its own. And, with the recent partnership with D’Avolio’s, a Lewiston-based specialty purveyor of fine olive oils and vinegars, there are even more reasons to visit Dom’s.

For information, visit, or call (716) 699-MEAT (6328).