GIBBON — A Gibbon meat market is now a place where customers can order sweet treats along with savory meats.
Oliv3r’s Meat Market + Catering, formerly known as Finney’s Meat Market, started serving sundaes, gourmet sodas and other sweet indulgences, such as hand-dipped chocolate-covered bananas and ice cream bars, called Ollie bars, last Friday.
The new offerings make it possible to buy both sweet and savory foods at Oliv3r’s at 49420 U.S. Highway 30.
Co-owner Sonni Benge said, “... some people haven’t ever been in here to buy meat. And they’re like, ‘Oh, you guys have beef jerky or you have snack sticks.’ So they grab that, but then they also get ice cream. It’s nice that they have that option.”
Benge and her siblings — Logan Oliver and Nicole Schuster — have cut, packaged and sold various types of smoked and raw meats from the establishment and catered events since February 2018. Jim and Cathy Finney established the meat market in 2013 before selling to the siblings.
Benge, Schuster and Oliver recently changed the business name to their family name. Benge said the ‘3’ in the place of the ‘e’ in Oliv3r’s represents the three siblings that are in business together.
Since purchasing the business, Benge said she and her siblings wanted to do something more with their space.
“When we bought the place initially we thought there’s so much more we can do with it,” she said. “At the time, we didn’t have time and then we just started to think, ‘Let’s just do it and then we planned for it. Then COVID hit, so we kind of had to wait.’”
The COVID-19 virus caused the Olivers to close their lobby and offer curbside pickup of their meats in the spring. Their catering business also came to a halt. So during that time, Benge said they refreshed their front lobby with new paint and set up for their sundaes, sips and snacks shop.
Benge said she and Schuster are in charge of the sweets in the shop and side dishes for catering, while their brother mainly focuses on the meats.
Before offering their sweet treats, Benge said she and her sister experimented with different flavor combinations. Their cousin, who travels often, also helped them come up with the ideas.
“We had flavors that we had in mind that we knew were popular or that we liked and spruced them up a bit to make them more exciting and different,” Benge said.
In all, they created six sundaes that they make with their soft-serve ice cream machine, and nine gourmet sodas that they mix with specialty syrups and pop from a soda fountain.
Sundae flavors include the Sundae Ole with chopped mango, chamoy sauce, chili seasoning and Tamarindo stick, and the kid favorite — the High Wire — with multi-colored, crunchy cotton candy sprinkles with a puff of purple, pink or blue cotton candy.
The Gourmet sodas range from rich and creamy, such as the popular Butter Beer with root beer and butterscotch, vanilla and cream syrups, to bright and refreshing, such as the Sweet Dreams with Sprite and blue Curacao, peach and cream syrups. Benge said her personal favorite is the Cali with Coke and coconut, lime and cream syrups.
Benge and Schuster said they may add more items to their menu in the future but for now they wanted to keep it small and manageable.
So far, Benge said Oliv3r’s has maintained its meat market hours of 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but she said they eventually will extend their hours. Regardless, Benge said their customers from Grand Island to Kearney and in between have seemed to enjoy the new sweet treats.
“It’s been a pretty good turnout. We’re still doing our store hours so we’re hoping to change our hours to go longer in the evening, the prime time people eat ice cream,” Benge said. “It’s surprisingly been going pretty well. I hope it continues.”