W-B Butcher Shop Will Close After 73 Years
WILKES-BARRE — Harry’s Market, an old-fashioned butcher shop at 645 Hazle St., will close Saturday after 73 years in business.
Bruce Fendler, 58, the third generation owner, said he’s closing because “it’s time.”
He said he did a great deal of wholesale and distributing and since Restaurant Depot is opening on Scott Street, “that should finish that off.”
“Customers who have died over the years have been tough to replace,” Fendler said. “Restaurants that closed that we serviced are being replaced by chains so it’s time.”
Fendler said smoked and fresh kielbasa will still be on hand in his shop but he advised customers not to wait too long.
“My family will use it and my guys are going to take some stuff and I’ll donate what’s left,” he said.
Starting Monday, Fendler will begin working in the meat room at Gerrity’s in West Pittston.
“My supervisor at Gerrity’s said I won’t have to change a thing,” he said. “There’s a shortage of meat cutters. In my age group, we’re probably the last who actually worked on hanging beef. Kids nowadays just think you open a box and there it is. The way people are anymore, they don’t want to get their hands dirty.”
Fendler’s sausage and kielbasa recipes will stay with him and he said if people need a big order, they can contact him because he still will have access to processing equipment.
He said if his friend Rocco Riccardo of Riccardo’s Market in Dunmore gets a big enough order for kielbasa, he will make a batch using his recipe.
His grandfather, Harry Fendler, started Harry’s Market in another location on Hazle Street in 1945 and it was later operated by his father Seymour Fendler after he got out of the Navy. The market moved on Hazle Street twice before moving to its current location at 645 Hazle St. in 1959.
Inside the market, Fendler trims and cuts meat the old-fashioned way.
Harry’s Market also has its own spices and barbecue sauce that Fendler is donating.
“People aren’t shopping any more like this,” Fendler said. “People are going wherever it’s cheap and there’s the convenience of walking into a supermarket and grabbing stuff.”
Outside the market, Fendler smokes kielbasa in an old mine water tank. Vino’s Deli on Blackman Street formerly used it when it had a kielbasa business more than 30 years ago, he said.
“Nothing smokes like it,” Fendler said.
It takes about four hours to smoke kielbasa and he said that’s his most popular seller. In addition to kielbasa, his market has been known for its sausage, steak, hamburger patties and pork.
Fendler has four employees who are semi-retired and going to take some time off and find other jobs, including Al Adelson.
Adelson has cut and delivered meat and waited on customers at Harry’s Market for 11 years.
“It’s a sad situation,” Adelson said. “It’s because of the economy and the big box stores. The old-timers who used to shop here either passed away or are in nursing homes. We see very few young people in here.”
Fendler said after he closes, he will put the building at 645 Hazle St. up for sale.
He said the message he wants to get out to his customers is simply “thank you.”
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