by Jean Kozubowski Salina Journal | January 19, 2018
LUCAS — Because of a federal regulation now being enforced, Friday was the last day Brant’s Meat Market in Lucas was open.
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have suddenly been enforcing a requirement for documentation that’s been on the books since 2000, Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, said Friday afternoon. And he wants to know why.
Waymaster did not give specific information about what documentation was required.
To comply would require 21 pages of new paperwork and would necessitate hiring of an extra person, said Linda Brant, who owns Brant’s with her husband, Doug. She said the meat market wasn’t shut down by the government; the Brants decided to close because of the new book-keeping requirements. She said it would cost them thousands of dollars to comply.
The store, which has been in the Brant family for four generations, has been serving customers from all over for 96 years with family-recipe ring bologna, pepper bologna, beef jerky, fresh and smoked sausages, dry-cured bacon and other meats and cheeses. Brant’s also carried cold soda pop, snacks and a few staples.
“If a regulation hasn’t been followed and there hasn’t been a problem in 18 years, why have the regulation?” Waymaster wanted to know. “Over-regulation is killing small businesses in rural America.”
Waymaster is in contact with the undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture and is going to see if there’s anything that can be done, he said. There are no guarantees, though, he said.
The news was devastating to the town of Lucas, population about 400. The town bills itself as the “Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas,” and it’s known for the Garden of Eden concrete sculptures, the Grassroots Art Center and Bowl Plaza, and as the home of several artists.
The town’s grocery store also was closed in the past couple of years.
“It’s devastating for that town,” said Traci Miller, of Kansas City, and Linda Brant’s niece. “It’s one of the main attractions. Why fix something that’s not broke? Customers come from all over. Nobody wants it to close.”
News of Brant’s closing is reverberating across the state, Waymaster said. He’s also being contacted by individuals with Kansas tourism. Brant’s is featured in numerous articles and publications.
Doug Brant announced the closing on the market’s Facebook page Thursday, saying he’d be open until he sold out, which happened Friday.
“We are just swamped,” said Linda Brant on Friday.
A post on the Facebook page Thursday said Brant’s phone and computer “blew up” with orders and messages and, they were “just so overwhelmed at the moment” and it was “hard to type with tears.”