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WNC Business

Heidi Dunkelberg Opens Grebleknud Meat Co. in Waynesville

Mar 29, 2023 02:50PM ● By WNC Business

A true entrepreneur is an idea person. Spend much time with an entrepreneur, and you will see these ideas just come one after another. That’s what it is like to talk to Heidi Dunkelberg. She has so many ideas that she can’t keep them in. 

Perhaps that’s one reason her last business was so successful. As the previous owner of Coffee Cup Cafe, Dunkelberg learned a thing or two. “When I heard customers say something three times, I better listen,” she says. 

Another key lesson was that employees have to be the number one priority. “As owners, we were there every day. It mattered to us. We set the example for our employees. We did right by them, and then they do right by the customers.”

Dunkelberg took all she learned from that 17 years of experience and opened Grebleknud Meat Company in October of 2022. The new butchery sells local meats, deli meats, house-made sausages, and cured meats. Beer and wine is now being served with “snack trays” featuring their hand crafted meats. Hot sandwiches are served after 3:00 PM Tuesday through Thursday. Dunkelberg rattles off all kinds of ideas she has for sausages and burgers, incorporating local, fresh ingredients. Grebleknud is partnering with other local small businesses and farms like Presnell Farms and Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, to carry and use their fresh ingredients in her recipes. She indicated that the customer favorites so far are the roast beef, cured ham, and cooked bacon. 

According to Ashley Swanger, Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center Director, cross-promoting between local businesses in our area is common. “These small business owners look for ways to partner with each other. It’s something I see more and more.”  

The ideas keep flowing for additions to the butchery to include a brewpub. Home brewing has been a passion for Dunkleberg since 2005 and she plans to use that skillset to grow her plan with the butchery as the first part of the bigger plan.

Throughout the years, Dunkelberg has worked with Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center. “I have noticed a gap between small business owners knowing what resources are available. Small business owners need to turn to the Small Business Center if they need help.”

A weakness Dunkelberg fully admits to having is writing a business plan. That’s one aspect where the Small Business Center helped offering technical assistance with the process.

Dunkelberg started work on Grebleknud before COVID hit, and everything came to a screeching halt. Swanger added, “With COVID, everything became a lot more risky. Things in the works for a long time were put on hold.”

Dunkelberg explains how prices became inflated, and Swanger helped her secure a grant from Empowering Mountain Food Systems to start moving forward with the new business. 

But it’s an uphill climb to get everything in place. Swanger explains that it is common for small businesses to encounter constant obstacles. “The roadblocks never stop, but with the entrepreneurial mindset, you just keep figuring it out.”

“You put a fire out, get over a hurdle and just keep going,” Dunkelberg says.

And the ideas keep flowing. Dunkelberg talks about combining unique, fresh ingredients one minute and how she will have a patio with tables outside the next. She’s learned a lot over the years and is ready to make things happen at her new location at 68 Howell Street in Waynesville (the former Saki Sushi Building). 

Grebleknud Meat Co. is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Fridays from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM, and offers sausage making classes on scheduled Saturdays which can accommodate up to eight people.  Watch social media for the next class or sign up for emails on the website:  [email protected].

Photo by Michelle Harris. 

About Haywood Community College and the NCSBC

Visit or call 828.627.4512 for additional information or to register today. Thinking about starting a business in Haywood County or growing an existing business? Take advantage of the programs, services and resources provided by the Small Business Center. The NC Community College’s Small Business Center Network facilitates an economic impact in 100 percent of all NC counties each year and ranks number one in the US for total business seminars and participants. In addition, the network helps start an average of over 645 businesses every year and works to create and retain 4,750 jobs annually for North Carolina. Visit for more information.

Haywood Community College is part of the North Carolina Community College System and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges. Founded in 1965, it is an open-door institution with the mission of serving the educational needs and economic growth of our community by promoting lifelong student learning and success. This includes programs for Haywood County high school students through Career and College Promise and Haywood Early College. The college campus, a designated arboretum, boasts one of the most beautiful college campuses in the state with an iconic mill pond, seasonal dahlia and rhododendron gardens, an 18-hole disc golf course and a walking trail.