Service and quality is what keeps customers coming back to Lenovers Quality Meats.
The business is celebrating 80 years of ownership under one family, the Lenovers.
Gerald Lenover started the business with a partner in 1938 and quickly bought him out. Brothers Keith, Walter and John came on board, while all were in their late teens or early 20s. In fact, Keith ran the operation at the age of 16 while Gerald went off to war in 1939.
Mike Lenover, Keith’s son who took over the business in 1986 and still runs it today, said the original store was located in Chatham’s core at Fourth and Wellington.
The four brothers added a store on first King Street and then St. Clair Street, but in in 1956, they moved their business to Park Avenue East, where it stands today.
Mike said he remembers working in the store at an early age.
“I was here as a kid stamping packages when I was seven years old,” he said. “The opportunity arose to purchase and I said ‘sure.’ It’s been a good run at a good location.”
Competition has increased over the years, Mike said, but family owned businesses like his have something special that’s hard to duplicate with bigger, corporate operations.
“People appreciate the service,” he said. “We have a lot of regular customers; multi-generational customers. We have grandkids of some of our original customers. We have people who tell us, ‘my granddad used to take me here.’”
And they continue to visit Lenovers because customers are treated with respect; it’s all about service and quality.
“Everybody always talks about how much better our meat is than the chain stores,” Mike said. “Our business is about the quality of the cut and the grade of the meat.”
As for the superior service, Mike said it begins and ends with the store’s staff.
“People like to be treated right. That’s a credit to our staff,” he said.