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The Carnivore Market opened quietly on Nov. 21, and owner Virginia Botha already can sense that Franklin locals are enthusiastic about purchasing their meats from a small business owner.

The Carnivore Market opened quietly on Nov. 21, and owner Virginia Botha already can sense that Franklin locals are enthusiastic about purchasing their meats from a small business owner.

In November, Botha and her husband and co-owner, S.J. Botha, moved into the 550 sq. ft. space located adjacent to Handy Hardware and directly across from Franklin Synergy Bank’s location on Columbia Avenue. Carnivore Market offers a wide-array of meats — hams, sausages, and pastrami purchased from local farmers.

“We moved from South Africa in August, where we had lived for three years,” Botha said.

“I’m from here originally and my husband is South African. We had an American-style BBQ restaurant in Uppington, which is a town located in the Northern Cape, and my husband fell in love with meats. When we decided to come home, we knew we wanted to start a small business in Franklin. We were lucky to find the right spot.”

While in South Africa, Botha’s husband took butcher-classes, and learned the South African-style of drying meat to make jerky, which is made and sold in house at the Carnivore Market. When the family made the decision to come to America, they knew that they didn’t want to open up a new restaurant and try to rear their two children at the same time.

“We came here because we wanted to be closer to family,” Botha said. “Given the choice between the United States and South Africa, the U.S. provided better opportunities for our children.”

The small-town qualities of Franklin, which boasts a successful Main Street where locals and visitors of Franklin alike shop, made the Columbia Avenue location a good-fit for a meat market.

“Our location has a lot of the character people would look for in a local shop,” she said. “We already people coming back in the shop, and that’s just from word-of-mouth.”

The majority of the items sold in the shop are just a hop, skip and a jump from Columbia Avenue. For instance, much of the beef on display is bought from Bear Creek Farms in Thompsons Station, and chickens are purchased from Hippo Hollow in Fairview. Goat cheese products, which Botha hopes to sell more of in the future, are from Noble Springs Dairy in Franklin. Botha just ordered artisan chocolate from Olive Sinclair in Nashville.

“People are very concerned about where their meats come from,” she said of why shopping local is gaining momentum. “You want to feel safe when you open your fridge.”

The list of products sold at Carnivore Market will be ever-changing, determined by what the farms have available and what “is moving in the store.”

Botha hopes that during the next winter holidays, the store will be able to offer spiced-round, an old Southern-style dish that is hard to come by.

“We want to offer unique meats and wherever we can, offer items that aren’t available elsewhere,” Botha said

The Botha’s both hope that the store is a success so that they may expand and offer other items in time. For now, they are excited to be part of the artisan movement in Franklin.

“The artisan movement is a success because people want to feel like they are a part of a community and give back to society,” she said. “There’s so much we’d like to do.”

To find out more about Carnivore Market, including hours of operation, visit their official Web site by clicking here.

Michael Ackley covers the City of Franklin for Homepage Media Group. Contact him at

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