All of this meat talk made me wonder about one of the local butchers I use. I found this as part of an article on the net, neat story.
After I left the Historical Society I stopped off at Knauer s on my way downtown to the library. The almost impossibly cramped little market was bustling, and there were three generations of Knauers working behind the scenes Bob (who admitted that he was almost eighty ), his son Mark, and his grandson Bob.
Knauer s, the elder Bob told me, has been in business since 1886, and when I asked him how long he d been at it, he answered, I ve been going since six o clock this morning, unloading semi loads of beef. He had, it turned out, been going a lot longer than that. He s been working at the family market for sixty-five years, with a little time off for military service, and grew up in a house next door.
This is pretty much it, Knauer says. The Knauers are meat cutters, and they ve always been meat cutters. This is the only thing I ve ever done, and in all those years I ve never gotten a promotion.
Looking at the historical photos of the market that adorn the walls, it s apparent that the basic layout of the place hasn t changed much in over a century. When Bob s grandfather, Tony Sr., first came over from Austria, the Knauers were sausage makers, a trade that Tony had learned in Vienna. In the early years, the family ran a small slaughterhouse just outside town, and had a sausage factory and smokehouse behind the market.
You didn t have refrigeration or suppliers in those days, Bob says, so you pretty much had to do everything yourself. At one time we had nine meat cutters going like gangbusters ten hours a day back here.
The Knauers have held onto their history over the years; the original smokehouse still stands out back, and a number of original fixtures an icebox, a meat locker with an imposing oak door, and a cash register have all been preserved, or at least left alone. There s also a huge black onyx safe in the back room that had the lock blown off in a robbery once upon a time.
They still cut their own meat at Knauers, and Black Angus steaks are the market s specialty.
Quality is everything in a business like this, Bob said. If you don t have quality you re not gonna be around for long. We re hanging in there, but we re pretty much the last of the Mohicans. It s always a battle running a place like this. It always has been. There s so much competition, and there s more all the time. The nice thing about keeping things in the family is that you always have plenty of helping hands.