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Mail call: Let’s talk about butcher shops

Today’s letter comes from Wayne Breighner, who says, “A suggestion for future stories: Butcher shops.”

His memories included: “The old days butcher shops were found in and around York city and County. A few had trucks that traveled neighborhoods in the city on scheduled days. We lived on W. King St. and I remember my grandma and mom going to the truck and getting meats twice a week. Budisheim (not sure of spelling) butchers were in Seven Valleys, Eberly’s in Yoe, and Sechrists in Dallastown (they are still there a great place to buy great tasting hot dogs as well as a full line of meats.) to name a few..I know Spring Grove had some on Water Street (no name recalled).”

Nell family butcher shop
Charles R. and Naomi Nell work at Stoney Point Farmers Market when they opened the Littlestown location in 1980. Their family has been in the butcher shop business since the late 1920s, when Eugene Nell opened a small butcher shop, in Kralltown. Eugene's sons Charles and Wayne Nell moved the business to East Berlin before moving to Littlestown.

Wayne continues, “The one I am more familiar with is Eberly’s in Yoe, this was owned and operated by Jim and Flora Eberly. I moved my family to Yoe in 1966. We lived across the street from the retail store on E. Penna. Ave. Jim was a butcher ‘extraordinaire.’ He slaughtered, processed and retailed home cured meats and meat products, using proprietary recipes for bologna and other products produced on site. The abattoir was on Wilson court. Jim would pick up and deliver or farmers would bring there livestock to him. Holding pens kept the process in full swing. One rare occasions an animal would temporally escape, Jim Eberly was also the Yoe VFD chief, one day a bull escaped about the same time the fire dept. was dispatched by county control. That bull had the longest bout of reprieve, however after the fire company returned to station the firemen assisted their chief in retrieving the bull from a wooded area nearby.”

He concludes, “A local sharpshooter (Robert ‘Bobby’ Strobeck) assisted and dispatched the bull, in the woods, now the problem was getting a large dead carcass back to the shop for processing. A tow-truck was used and all ended well, the bull was transported back to the shop and all but the bull lived happily after.”

Jim and Flora operated a small neighborhood grocery store and they had the local post office sub-station. (Their) store was also the local gossip depot. Most any time you could catch up on local news and see your friends and share hunting and fishing adventures. Their homemade bologna and home smoked meats were widely acclaimed. They operated their store like many a small town business and extended credit as needed. No one ever needed to go hungry if they knew the Eberlys, of this I can attest as I worked construction and was seasonally challenged for a steady income. We were blessed to know the Eberlys as neighbors and as good friends. Like a lot of the old day memories butcher shops … are no longer stand alone enterprises, how sad the next generations will only hear how it was way back then. Facebook is just not even close.”

Wayne, I’m so glad you brought up this fun topic for memories. Anyone else recall the local butcher shops?

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