Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The quality product and reputation of the market convinced Szell to keep the community staple open.
“I felt it was my duty,” he said, adding he did not know who else would step up.
For the past month and change, Szell has been working full time under Kaufman to learn the ropes at the Washburn Street Meat Market. He said the training he has been receiving from Kaufman is critical to maintaining the market’s success.
“You can fake it in some jobs, but this isn’t one of them,” he joked.
Szell said the reputation of the market is one he looks forward to maintaining, and possibly expanding. For example, after 109 years in business and only three total owners, Szell said he plans to keep the shop in his family for the next 60 to 80 years.
“We want to keep the quality in the store exactly the same until I’m dead,” he said. Knowing that maintaining the store cannot happen without customers, Szell said it was his goal to win over Kaufman’s regulars.
“People around here rely on Don, and I hope is that they can rely on me and my son,” he said. “The customers love Don, and we need to win them over, because if we don’t we’re sunk.”
Kaufman said the customers will be fine with Szell.
“He’ll do fine,” he said with a grin.
Kaufman said the customers are one aspect of the business he will miss. “Some customers have been with me for 40 years,” he said. “I’ll miss that interaction with them, because I know most of them personally.”
Szell said there could be an increased opportunity for customers to know him in the future, as he hinted at possibly expanding the market. He also said a retro-fitted 1937 jaguar with a working kitchen in its trunk will be used to showcase the market at local events.
The car, Kaufman, and Szell will all be on hand this Saturday in front of the market to celebrate the change in ownership from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also being celebrated is Kaufman’s 75th birthday. There will be live music, and a hot dog and pop will be available for $1. Those who show up in a classic car get the hot dog and pop for free.