Mystery meat, money problems, and a mattress store magnate... what a saga it is.
  • Mystery meat, money problems, and a mattress store magnate... what a saga it is.

Pacific Northwest Ballet presents: Romeo et Juliette at McCaw Hall
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The saga of the local butcher-shop chain known as Bill the Butcher goes back to 2010 here at The Stranger, when Matthew Richter wrote about how the business would not divulge its purportedly local/organic meat suppliers, nor label its meats by source. After the article appeared—and after Richter made 18 phone calls and every certified organic beef ranch in Washington state said they did not supply meat to Bill the Butcher—Bill the Butcher became more transparent in its labeling and suppliers, and opened more stores.

Along the way, cofounder William Von Schneidau and the C.O.O. parted ways with Bill the Butcher, filing lawsuits for breach of contract and more. Cofounder and marketing consultant J'Amy Owens runs the company now, and in summer 2012, the Madison Valley and Bellevue branches closed.

Now Eater Seattle and Wallyhood report that all six branches of Bill the Butcher are closed, with an ambiguous sign posted at each shop:

Due to circumstances beyond our control we are closed until further notice.

Thank you for your support, your patronage and welcoming us to your neighborhood. We hope to see you soon.

The Seattle Times noted the company's cash flow problems in 2011. Then last week, the Times reported that Sleep Country USA founder Sunny Kobe Cook says Bill the Butcher's J’Amy Owens owes her more than $40,000 from a personal loan, as Cook wrote in a blog post entitled "The Price of Friendship":

...the prompt of this post... is the story of J’Amy Owens. If you Google her name, you will find countless hits noting her as a “retail guru”, a “Diva of Retail” and currently a “Meat Activist” and the CEO of a publicly traded company, Bill the Butcher. She once graced the cover of Inc. Magazine under the headline “Sales Guru to the Stars”. Even such illustrious credentials does not preclude one from being a deadbeat...

My reason for sharing this is to serve as a warning to others – NEVER loan money to family or friends. You are not doing them a favor, no matter how much it seems true in the immediate.

Sage words from the mattress-store magnate. Meanwhile, William Von Schneidau—originally the Bill in Bill the Butcher—now runs BB Ranch butcher shop in the Pike Place Market; he has not yet returned a call asking for his take on the matter.

J'Amy Owens' voicemail is full.