Listening to the customer – and giving them exactly what they want – is the special sauce behind Paulina Meat Market’s 65 years in business.

In this edition of Conference Room, FBN’s Jeff Flock talks to owner Bill Begale about how he’s grown the business by catering to Chicago’s foodie scene.

“Our customers are phenomenal… I mean we have a lot of regular customers, and you couldn’t ask for better ones, that’s for sure,” said Begale, who’s been working at the meat market since 1984.

Begale said he keeps customers coming back for more by catering to their precise needs. Paulina Meat Market still purchases whole cattle, unlike many grocers that order precut or boxed beef, which allows the butchers more flexibility.

“Yeah, you don’t get the option to come in and pick what you want out of the counter [at other grocery stores]. And if it isn’t the right size, if it’s not thick enough … we’ll cut it for you while you wait,” said Begale.

Begale has also expanded Paulina Meat Market’s other offerings to attract customers who want a one-stop shop for dinner. He said listening to shoppers is key to running a successful business.

“The demand was there, people wanted sides … instead of buying salads, we make salads. We have a full-time cook here -- a lady from Switzerland -- and she cooks all our prepared entrees in the freezer. People want homemade, so we just expanded on that a lot,” added Begale.

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