AC’s Yummy Jerky owners Alvin and Judy Cape are more than happy to report that their company is the largest beef-jerky manufacturer in North Carolina. Cape said that’s something they hear from food inspectors quite often.

The company opened its doors in Statesville in 2013 and moved to its new location on Taylorsville Highway this year.

See more photos at the bottom of this article

Alvin Cape said he started learning how to make jerky about eight or nine years ago, and that he stumbled on a winning recipe after passing out samples to friends and co-workers.

It helped that Judy’s parents owned Statesville Wholesale Distributors and had a meat-processing plant, so the husband-and-wife duo got to work.

“From the time we started, we couldn’t make (jerky) fast enough,” she said of the early days of business.

AC’s prides itself on selling what’s known as cowboy jerky, a considerably thinner and crispier style compared with what’s usually on store shelves.

Alvin explained that it’s made by cutting the meat thin and cooking it for long periods of time.

He also said it adds a certain level of authenticity.

“I cannot see a cowboy putting a pack of what they call beef jerky now in his saddlebag,” Alvin said. “The bag would be wet and the jerky would mold.”

He said that most of the heft in typical store-bought jerky comes from water weight.

“When you’re buying our jerky, you’re buying beef,” he said.

On Wednesday, which happened to be National Craft Jerky Day, AC’s featured a row of holiday sweets along with a Christmas tree that had packets of jerky as ornaments.

Alvin sat behind a desk with bits of jerky ranging from teriyaki and barbecue to Wild West sitting in jars.

Workers in a side room spent the morning bagging jerky to sell.

Judy helped a customer as Alvin ran around parts of the store checking on things.

Their store now employs three people parttime, and the Capes said they have products reaching all across the state — and parts of Virginia and South Carolina — in everything from grocery stores to vape shops.

Alvin says that’s due to customer loyalty.

“We’ve been successful because our customers keep coming back,” he said.

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