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The completed exterior of the new building that will house Off the Hoof and Roast & Toast. Interior construction is still in progress.

Two new businesses are moving into Delhi’s downtown with the promise of offering unique products and experiences that will grow the town and turn Delhi into a destination. These businesses are Off the Hoof, a meat market specializing in fresh, never-frozen meat, and Roast & Toast, a coffee and wine bar. These two businesses will share space in one newly constructed building, with Off the Hoof being the primary owner and Roast & Toast renting extra space in the building.

According to Nancy Preussner, owner of Roast & Toast, the idea for these new businesses began in November 2019.

“I think the whole thing started a year and a half ago when the State of Iowa came up and did a walk around. One of the things they noticed on Main Street was that we had two empty buildings that were pretty dilapidated and a trailer house next to them. We needed businesses downtown and they asked what we needed in Delhi. They said, ‘You’ve got the foot traffic. Why aren’t you offering services or businesses for them?’”

It was decided that the vacant buildings would be demolished and a new one constructed in their place. Inspired by the foot traffic partly generated by campers and visitors to Lake Delhi, a market was chosen to help provide a local source of supplies. Brian Gavin, a representative for Off the Hoof, which is run by a corporation based out of Mayfield, Ken., said, “There were many different intangibles put together to get this to the point where it’s at now. This whole thing comes from 20-year relationships with a company out of Kentucky, and that relationship is what brought this Off the Hoof meat market and deli sandwich to Delhi. If it wasn’t for that relationship, the company would never have been interested in Delhi. This didn’t just start up a year and a half ago; this relationship has been going on for years. Off the Hoof has three locations in Kentucky currently in operation. It just made sense to expand that into Iowa.”

Gavin said the unique freshness of meat from Off the Hoof will be an attraction in itself.

“It’s never frozen,” he said. “This is fresh meat, and we’re the only ones who can say that. You cannot buy this to take home and cook from anybody else.”

According to Preussner, the new business will also help stimulate the local farm economy.

“One of the distributors we have bringing the meat to Off the Hoof is Sysco, and they deal directly with Iowa Premium Beef in Tama. Many of our local farmers sell their beef to Tama, because they only buy certified Black Angus beef, which is what they’re going to be having here at Off the Hoof.”

In addition to the new fresh meat deli, Delhi is getting a new coffee and wine bar in the form of an entirely new local business, Roast & Toast.

“The building was too big for what Off the Hoof wanted for their deli,” said Preussner, “and there was about 20 extra feet of the building, so early on we thought, ‘Let’s get another business in here.’ People were asking for a coffee shop, a social place. Mornings are going to be coffee, we’re going to have light lunches at noon, and in the evenings we’ll offer a selection of wines and meat and cheese snack boards. We’re thinking that will be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, but it’s not set in stone. Wine bars are the up-and-coming thing right now.”

According to Preussner, rather than compete with any existing businesses in Delhi, Off the Hoof and Roast & Toast will serve to complement them as they fill a unique need in the community and help to further grow Delhi.

“Both businesses are going to complement everything we have going on in town,” she said. “It’s just going to fit right into the puzzle. Communities need businesses, retail, housing, schools, libraries and recreation areas. Delhi has all of that now. Our puzzle is getting put together and there are always new pieces to it.”

Currently, the exterior of the building has been completed, with interior work still in its early phases. While the property was purchased in 2019, and the cement poured in November 2020, the building’s actual construction wasn’t started until January 2021. Preussner hopes for both businesses to be open by June or July of this year.

Both Preussner and Gavin have high hopes for the positive impact these two new additions will make to Delhi, with Gavin saying they will attract more growth as people choose to move to town after seeing what unique amenities it offers.

“The economic development for Delhi will be much larger than it is today,” said Gavin. “There’s property and sales tax, and the other thing is just bringing people to town. If you’re looking at building a new house in one of the new subdivisions, and you see this town is growing with new businesses coming in, you’re going to be more apt to build that house here. It’s a snowball effect. I’ve been in real estate for quite a while and if we can just get in new businesses, we get other things new. Delhi will become a destination. You have to have something unique no one else has to become a destination. Galena is a destination with its antique shops. We have the lake, the campground, now we have Off the Hoof and Roast & Toast. We’ll have a lot of things other places can’t give you in a small community.”