“We’ve been working pretty hard,” Christina Flammond said. “It’s been 10 years getting it going, and now we’re finally being recognized for our efforts.”
Christina, co-owner of C & C Meat Processing at Duck Lake on the Blackfeet Reservation, has watched the slow growth of her family meat packing business. Now, C & C is set to receive a major boost from Governor Steve Bullock’s Coronavirus Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grants, netting her business $150,000 to assist with equipment purchases, slaughter floor installation and facility modifications for increased cold storage and processing capacity.
Processing meat has been a part of Christina’s life from the beginning. Her father, Charles, used to work at Teeple’s IGA in the 1980s as their meat manager, then moved on to Glacier Family Foods when it first opened, managing their meat department for several years before leaving.
“I grew up living off the land,” Christina said. In the beginning she would cut up people’s beef, sheep or game in exchange for a portion of the meat or bartering for needed items. But when she and her father found themselves both out of work, she told him, “Let’s make this a real business.”
Christina found herself a job working for Swank Construction on what would become Glacier Peaks Hotel, and meanwhile landed a $6,000 grant to build the processing business. Her partner, she said, is a master carpenter so he worked on the building using material Swank was throwing away while Christina continued to work at her job.
While it was a beginning, there was much room for improvement. “At first we had no electricity,” she said. “I’ve been losing money, but it felt good to be helping people, so that people don’t have to go to the store and pay too much.”
Landing the Coronavirus grant has changed everything.
“I cried,” Christina said when she found out about the grant. “I’ve got to thank the NACDC and Matt Herrington for helping along the way. Every place I went for help nobody knew anything and nobody tried to do this so when we got together on the grant I said I want to apply for the whole thing. If you get a bow and arrow, why not shoot for the stars?”
While the funds have not yet arrived, preparations are being made for expanding and improving the business.
“We’re doing the dirt work before winter comes,” she said, “and redoing the road so our customers can get in.”
Expansion also creates employment opportunities, Christina said, as she is looking for help in updating and maintaining the C&C Facebook page. In addition, with hunting season approaching, she will be looking to hire more help to process the game that is certain to come in.
“We’ll need help from here on out,” she said.
“I’d like to say thanks to everyone who helped me out the past few years, for every door that was opened and for everyone’s business and recommendations. We’re glad to serve our community, and I hope it helps our people to be strong as our community grows.”
For more information and to access services, go to the C&C Meat Processing Facebook page, or call 406-338-5883, or 406-470-0221.