Jersey Shore meat market changes hands

JERSEY SHORE — Doug Rauch had often dreamed of owning his own busines, so when a long-standing downtown shop became available, he jumped at the opportunity.

His brother, Erv Rauch, had owned and operated Erv’s Meat Market for 32 years and gave Doug the first shot at purchasing it.

“I did not talk him into it,” Erv said with a laugh.

He was ready to give up the market and assured Doug it was a good business to own.

Now, Doug and his wife, Lori, are learning everything they need to know to operate the business.

But their philosophy is pretty simple: Don’t change anything.

“Nothing will be taken away,” Doug said.

That means fresh cut meat, including steaks, baloney and bacon. There are the hot dogs and sausage, beef jerky and cheese spreads.

Erv, who was recently found lending a hand to Doug and his wife in the store, noted that the baloney and mini-steaks will, as always, be 100-percent beef.

“Specially smoked items are what bring people back,” Doug said.

And the customers are coming from near and far, he said.

But Erv said the real secret to making the market a success is providing good customer service.

The shop, with its cozy confines, aroma of fresh-cut meats, wooden floor, and assortment of antique items, beckons to a bygone era.

“We have a lot of old history hanging around,” Doug said. “When people come in, they take a step back in the past.”

There are, Erv noted, few shops like it around these days.

The market traces its origins to 1896 with the Probst family.

Throughout the years, the shop changed hands a number of times.

Erv took it over in 1985.

But after more than three decades, he was ready to give it up.

He’s glad the business is staying in the family and not closing.

“People are happy to know it’s staying here,” Lori said.

For now, it’s just the couple working at the store with Lori handling customer service and her husband doing the production.

“I am very excited,” Doug said. “I’m glad my wife is willing to go in with me.”

Lori said they actually thought long and hard about buying the store.

“We prayed about it,” she said. “We are at peace with everything.”

They like the location in downtown Jersey Shore and are looking forward to the coming years.