MERRIMACK - Two former Shaw's employees have left their jobs to pursue their dream of opening a new butcher shop - one of several new butchers to open in the region this summer.
Choice Cuts Butcher Shop and More is opening this weekend at Pennichuck Square, 707 Milford Road.
"We know this is a crazy move, but we think it is going to be great," said Carol Yorek, who owns the new butcher shop with her husband, Jeff Yorek.
The Hollis couple admits they are a little nervous about the newest business venture, but are confident that they can provide good quality meat at an affordable price.
Significant renovations have taken place to convert the former convenience store into a traditional butcher shop. After looking in several communities, the Yorek's said the Merrimack location seemed to be a good fit for their business.
"We are offering local, naturally-raised, grass-fed meat. Most of our products will be locally made," said Carol Yorek, adding some of the meat will come from Rickety Ranch in Hollis. Choice cut beef, along with Boar's Head premium deli meat will also be served at the shop, she said.
There is a new trend for area butchers to offer local products, according to Carol Yorek, who believes there is demand for a new butcher shop in the Merrimack area.
The couple will also be serving made-to-order subs, Boar's Head salads, cheeses and locally made potato chips. Other prepared foods will be added to the menu once business is steady, she added.
Carol Yorek previously worked as a meat manager at the Shaw's in downtown Nashua, while Jeff Yorek worked as the meat manager at the Shaw's in south Merrimack. He has about 46 years of butcher experience, and she has worked about 34 years in the deli industry.
While they left their jobs to follow a new path, Carol Yorek said they are still very concerned for some of their friends who still work in the grocery store business - specifically those being impacted by the current Market Basket drama.
Market Basket workers have been protesting this month, demanding the return of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, who was fired in June.
"We do not want to benefit from the Market Basket chaos," Carol Yorek said. "These are poor unfortunate employees, and I would like to see them get back to work."
She admits the butcher shop business is a competitive industry, but the couple is optimistic their store will be a success. They will be offering a selection of marinated beef, chicken and pork.
"We are committed to providing the best product and the best prices we can while also focusing on the best customer service," explained Carol Yorek.
Choice Cuts Butcher Shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and all military veterans will receive a 5 percent discount. A whole pig will be smoked today as part of its weekend opening celebration.
The Merrimack butcher shop is one of several new butchers in the area. Two Wine'ing Butcher shops recently opened at the former Meat House locations in Bedford and Pembroke. Two Happy Butchers, owned by two laid-off Stop & Shop workers, previously opened their shop in Milford. Meanwhile, Wicked Good Butchah is preparing to open later next month at the 101 Bedford Plaza West in Bedford, according to its website. firstname.lastname@example.org