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DEBRA JOYCE SAM

Involved in the meat industry for over 35 years, Debra Joyce Sam has been the owner and operator of Sam’s Meats since 1982. Sam’s Meats traces its roots back to Ms. Sam’s father, Wayne Sam, who was a butcher by trade. Impacted by the meat shortage of 1973, Mr. Sam traveled from California to Colorado to purchase beef and the following year ended up moving his family to Colorado where he had the opportunity to open his own business, which had long been a dream of his. Ms. Sam and her three siblings worked at the shop with their father, and in 1982, her brother Ken decided he wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps and open a second location. At just 19 years old, Ms. Sam went with him, and thus, was Sam’s Meats born.

Ms. Sam credits the success they have achieved with Sam’s Meats to the emphasis they place on excellent customer service. Furthermore, they are known for their focus on sourcing their products locally as much as is possible, which includes a variety of unusual and exotic meats such as Himalayan yak steaks and kangaroo. Alongside their meat selection, they also offer a wide range of grilling spices, rubs, marinades, oils and sauces. With a reputation for quality, they have customers that will drive in from all over to visit their store in addition to their regular base of walk-in clientele. Outside of her primary responsibilities, Ms. Sam has also contributed her skills to several local churches and nonprofit organizations, providing products at a discount to help with efforts to feed the homeless population.

Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Ms. Sam is particularly proud of how Sam’s Meats has grown since it began, noting that they needed to relocate about seven years ago as they had outgrown their original storefront. Above all, she considers her favorite part of her work to be seeing everything in place and set up at the beginning of each day before they open. Standing out in food retail for her hands-on approach to overseeing Sam’s Meats, Ms. Sam has been recognized for her accomplishments with interview features in Voyage Denver and Shoutout Colorado. More recently, Sam’s Meats received an award from Colorado Companies to Watch, which was a pleasant shock to Ms. Sam as she is deeply involved in all aspects of the business.

Born in California to father Wayne Sam and mother Sally Sam, Ms. Sam is herself the proud mother of three children, Pamela, Parker and Michelle, and has welcomed to the family son-in-law Matt, Pamela’s husband. As a single mother, she raised her three children alone while running a successful business, which was no easy feat. Like Ms. Sam was so many years ago, her children have been involved in the business since they were young. Looking toward the future, she has begun to plan for her retirement and intends to pass Sam’s Meats on to the two children of hers who have joined her at the store full time.

Throughout her career, Ms. Sam has found ongoing motivation in not only proving wrong the people who have doubted her ability to succeed, but also in supporting her family. To young and aspiring professionals, she would advise having a good work ethic and believing that you can do anything you set your mind to. In her free time, Ms. Sam enjoys cooking, traveling, walking, and training her dog, a goldendoodle.

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