James Peisker launched Porter Road with what could be considered an ambitious goal: to change the world. What started as a single butcher shop in Nashville selling meat direct from the farm has spread out across multiple states and, through its thriving online business, is now selling across the nation. But to do that, he first had to get the funding needed to support that growth.
"Originally, when (co-founder) Chris (Carter) and I went out, we had $50 suits that we got at Goodwill and we had a crazy idea, which was opening a high-end butcher shop in East Nashville," says Peisker, the company's co-founder. "At the time, and traditionally, East Nashville wasn't a very wealthy neighborhood. It was a very working class, rougher area. Most banks and financing people didn't see the opportunity that was going to happen. And I'm not saying Chris and I predicted the future and knew what was going to happen in Nashville, because that is very far from the truth, but we knew that our neighbors wanted good food, quality product and they were going to pay extra, even if they weren't banking in six figures, seven figures, they were willing to pay extra for quality product because that's what was important to them; and to us — it was our neighbors, it was our community. So, when we went to these banks and these institutions, they didn't see the need for that. They thought if we went to a higher-end neighborhood, it would have made more sense. But they didn't truly grasp or understand the vision of what we were trying to do — whole animal butcher shop, being the liaison to the farmer to the end customer, and really elevating a quality product that is uncomparable and wasn't found anywhere else in the city at the time."
Peisker spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about how the business got started, why banks hesitated to fund it and how the introduction of not just capital but ideas from VC and PE has led to the company's remarkable growth.