Brother’s Custom Processing sells to ranching family who hopes to expand operations

Deborah Fitch, left, poses for a photo with Dave Satterwhite, who recently sold Brother's Custom Processing in Craig to Fitch's family.
Courtesy photo

It’s “just that time of life,” supposed Dave Satterwhite.

Satterwhite, whose family has owned and operated Brother’s Custom Processing, one of Craig’s primary meat processing plants, for about 20 years, said it was a bit hard to process the fact that his family business was changing hands.

But the time had come, he said, to sell Brother’s, and he was pleased to have found a buyer who plans to carry his legacy forward and keep his family involved in the near term.

In fact, new owner Deborah Fitch plans to expand on what the Satterwhites have done over the last two decades. Fitch, a rancher out of Parshall — near Kremmling — bought the processing plant with her husband and eldest son. The Fitch family owns a number of Western Slope businesses including restaurants and a butcher shop. This Moffat County addition felt like a perfect opportunity for the growing enterprise.

“Dave wanted to retire and he told us he thought we’d be a good choice to carry it on,” Fitch said. “We’ve been working on it a while, and it closed this month. Hopefully we do as good a job as he has.”

For Fitch, the opportunity to connect local ranchers to consumers is more than just a business — it’s a passion.

“Our mission is to keep local ag alive,” she said. “We want to provide a high-quality product while keeping the old-school style alive, so to speak.”

Brother’s, Fitch said, has built its successful business on the back of relationships with area ranchers, and that’s something the new owners intend fully to build upon.

“We won’t change that at all,” she said. “If anything, we’d like to increase capacity here. We’re ranchers, too, and I know, when my livestock is ready to go and be processed, it’s ready. To be able to provide that service, we’re just trying to continue what Brother’s has done and potentially be able to start increasing it.”

That will hopefully include plant expansion, Fitch said.

“We’re working with the family — I’ve got to say, the nicest family ever. I love them,” Fitch said. “They’ve got great ideas and we’re going to try to move on them — not make changes in a negative way, but do something positive.”

Fitch said expansion would include hiring new people, but pointed out that the existing employee base is absolutely top-notch.

“They are amazing,” Fitch said of the team at Brother’s. “Absolutely wonderful humans, and a lot of talent. It’s a noble craft to provide food for your community, and that’s what they do. The more I get to know them, the more I adore them. If we can expand the plant, create more jobs — I’d call them careers, really, it’s a career path — the USDA inspector was telling me these multi-generational plants, like the Satterwhites, sometimes people don’t want to take it over and they have to close. We want to keep the old-school style going. It’s valuable to me.”

Whether new products come out of the plant with the changes is uncertain, though it seemed possible. But what was certain to Fitch is the plan to continue to grow the business in a place she and her family have come to love.

“I love this county,” Fitch said. “I honestly think there’s not a person here that I’ve met that hasn’t been nice and wonderful. The feeling here, it’s such a wonderful community, and we actually feel really lucky to be here. Everybody has been welcoming. It’s so positive. It’s a really good place.”

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