PARMA, Ohio — Thayer’s Select Meats, a beloved and cherished butcher shop in Parma, announced its abrupt closure this week, ending a 56-year run at the same location. Widely known for its fresh cuts and the indelible personalities of the family that owns it, loyal and longtime customers have swarmed to the neighborhood butcher shop to say one last goodbye.
Opened by Robert Thayer in 1966, Thayer’s Select Meats has remained in the Pleasant Valley Shopping Center since its inception. The following year, his sixth daughter, Maureen, was born, who eventually would take over the business and develop a fiercely loyal customer base. Her sister, Margaret Mary, worked alongside her until she retired in 2010.
“He said, ‘oh, you’re getting out of college? I’m going to bribe you. Come on.’ He bribed me and that’s how I got here. That’s how it happened,” Maureen Thayer Funfgeld said.
Late last week, Funfgeld made the incredibly difficult decision to close the business. After notifying her employees —some of whom are the sons and daughters of some of the shop’s original employees — word of the impending closure began to make its rounds in the community. Funfgeld removed all doubt a few days later by posting the news to the business’ official Facebook page.
Truthfully, many customers that stopped by the shop on Thursday didn’t want to believe it.
“I’m going to really, really miss this place — really bad,” one man said as he hugged Funfgeld goodbye.
Loved by so many, Thayer’s Select Meats has had a steady crowd filtering through the shop all week. Before it opened Thursday morning, a line of people a dozen deep had formed, Funfgeld said. Every hug and every conversation makes the decision to close ever more bittersweet.
It was something that Funfgeld felt she had to do.
“I promised my dad that I will take it to the 50-year mark and we made 56,” Funfgeld said. “And I hate going out because I’m sick but I’m going to try my hardest to get better. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without [my sister].”
Margaret Mary said she knew it was coming.
“I just thought I had a couple more weeks so I think I was more in shock because now it’s real,” Thayer said. “I’ll tell you: our father would be extremely proud of you.”
Thayer’s Select Meats’ last day of operation is Saturday, May 14.