Battlefield Country Store, A "Destination Grocery Experience"

Jeff Meier had a dream to transition from his Army career to open a family-focused grocery destination. Jeff, along with his former business partner Alvin Esh, founded Battlefield Country Store in Fredericksburg, Virginia in August 2016 to offer unique and high-quality food and gifts, with much of its merchandise supplied by friends in the local Amish and Mennonite communities. Battlefield Country Store is also known for its made-to-order, big, bold, and flavorful sandwiches and healthy school lunches. As a small business itself, the store supports other small businesses, marketing merchandise from artisans and bakers. 

For the first few years in operation Jeff functioned as the store’s manager while his wife Crystal handled housewares. Aiming to take over full ownership of the store, Jeff approached six different banks to get assistance with his acquisition, but all refused his application

Growing weary of rejection, Meier finally reached Rappahannock Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) President Joe DiStefano, a U.S. Small Business Administration certified nonprofit commercial lender. Through REDCO and the small business lending team at SONA Bank, Meier financed the acquisition with a 25-year debenture SBA 504 loan, which helped him free up the store’s cash flow and diversify debt. On "Pi Day", March 14, 2019, Jeff and Crystal Meier became Battlefield Country Store’s official owners. Meier, grateful for his experience with REDCO, notes “Joe believed in me earnestly; he believed in the project.”

The store started with 18 employees and has grown to 29 on the payroll. With each year, the Battlefield team has “been more creative and more profitable.” Jeff utilizes data analytics and social media to market his store and enhance his customers’ experience. This summer the store opens a gourmet ice cream business, where customers can order and dine via a service window at the front of the building. Meier’s mantra for the business is “togetherness and family.” As a community-minded store, customers can ship free to deployed military abroad and enjoy military discounts.

Meier attributes his leadership and management skills to his experience in the military. Journeying through the U.S. Air Force, technical school, and the U.S. National Guard gave him a more “structured and focused mindset.” He calls his wife his “Chief Advisory Officer” and he credits her in helping him stay grounded. However, when it comes to the success of the store, Meier proclaims, “if it wasn’t for Joe and REDCO 504, all this wouldn’t have happened.” For Meier the store represents perseverance. “I came into this with little to no money, I drained my bank account and sacrificed everything for this. When things were looking as grim as they could possibly look, I stayed focused on the ‘yes’ while there were so many no’s”, states Meier.

Company Name: 
Battlefield Country Store
Location: 
Fredericksburg, VA