A Message from Jeffrey Ruhalter on the Closing of Essex Street Butcher Shop

Jeffrey Ruhalter, Saturday morning, February 26, at the Essex Street Market.

We just received the following statement from Jeffrey Ruhalter of Jeffrey’s Meats in the Essex Street Market:

I speak to my/our community.

I sent out a press release last week in a last ditch effort for help because I have run out of time and options.  Only one of my issues was rent.  The press release resulted in a barrage of responses directed toward EDC and I understand that the “landlord’ is an easy target.  In response to the press release EDC requested a meeting with me.  I expected to meet with their representative and expected to hear, “pay rent or get out”.  Instead, when I arrived to the meeting, I was met with the top four executives of EDC.  C’mon, really, I’m just a butcher, I don’t deserve this attention… Only after an hours long meeting did they bring up the issue of rent.  I found myself meeting with the community, not my landlord.  All they wanted to do was to find ways to help me. They represented you, the community, and they played their roll in helping me as your representative of the community.  I was astounded at their position.  I’m a black and white guy, if I can’t pay rent, I have to get out.  Instead, they gave me options to survive. I don’t really know how to define what happened to me in that meeting but I started to breath again.  While we worked out a plan to keep my rent the same, at this time I still must temporarily close, as we have other financial considerations that we must try to resolve.

This is my world; a week ago a lady came to my shop, drunk, and I knew that she needed food.  I went to the Pain D’Avignon bread store in the market and wanted to buy bread for her, in which the bread company gave me some bread for free to help my cause, I came back and made her a sandwich to fill her belly.  Moments later the next customer spent 45 dollars on some of my prime dry aged steaks to feed her family for dinner.  I don’t decide who gets what, I respond to the communities needs as they arise because if it were not for the community I wouldn’t be here.  I can say that the community feeds my soul as their butcher but in addition, is that the community fuels my existence.  What I know to be true is that we belong to each other and without the community, you, I don’t exist. Thank you for giving my family our life blood.

For many reasons, I regrettably closed the store today, temporally.  I need time to re-group, to tap into resources that can help keep this piece of antiquity alive. I’m in trouble and I’m going to rely on fate to decide the future of my store; my families history. It’s okay, I’ll continue to be who I am as a representative of the Ruhalter family.  I know you’re out there and thank you for being with me and my family for 75 years.

Because this may be may my final ado I offer this:
I walk with my eyes open and closed.
I take a breath.
Feel the past.
Touch my soul.
Feel tomorrow.
Lay my head.
I say a prayer.
That you are here.

Jeffrey Ruhalter
Jeffrey’s Meat Market

  • Laurie Gwen Shapiro

    Oh Jeffrey you are breaking my heart. You must prevail!

  • http://www.facebook.com/francesa1 Frances Anna Ayers

    It is a shame that jeffrey might possibly go out of business.I remember him as someone who would go out of his way for anyone,regardless of their station in life.He even personally delivered meats to our late neighbor Claudette,a handicapped woman with a walker.I hope things work out!

  • Anonymous

    Really sorry to hear man!!

    I hope you pull through. It’s nice to see that the owners at least tried to help you out. Maybe Jeffrey, you should try selling some of your meats etc. ONLINE….. you could pull in some good revenues… esp. with your family history etc… Just my two cents.

  • Sue George

    From Seattle loved your story… Our big push out here is buy local

  • Amy Robinson

    Dear Jeffrey,
    I hope for you , your employees and all of us in the community that you can find a way to re-open.
    As a 6 year resident of the LES you were one of the first people to make me feel really welcome: “Hello, my name is Jeffrey and I am your personal butcher.” I quoted you for weeks!!! Stay strong.
    Amy Robinson

  • Setanta

    Jeffrey, you are the heart & soul of the market, larger than life, and with a generous heart that’s big as a lion. Plus, you’re a damn good butcher & businessman (Kerrygold butter for us new Irish immigrants). I hope that common sense will prevail and that generations of us who have been taken care of by you and your generous father (and his ancestors) will continue to see you as a fixture in Essex St.

  • Nigel Rahimpour

    I was in Chicago for two years and noticed this week that Jeffrey had closed.
    This is the best butcher and a fine man. A true community player. A mensch.
    His meats are of great quality and very reasonably priced.

    We can’t let him and his family get out of business. Is the trouble perhaps caused by the new demographics in the neighborhood who have pushed out the traditional client base? Maybe the new folks don’t know Jeffrey? Perhaps they don’t cook? Maybe they buy their meats at Wholefoods? If the latter is the case, then I hope that we can convince them to visit Jeffrey. He is the real deal!

    Perhaps we can have a rally? A flyer campaign? Maybe local stores and restaurants could hand out flyers to their customers that push the following idea to “buy from your local butcher!”

  • Nigel Rahimpour

    I was in Chicago for two years and noticed this week that Jeffrey had closed.
    This is the best butcher and a fine man. A true community player. A mensch.
    His meats are of great quality and very reasonably priced.

    We can’t let him and his family get out of business. Is the trouble perhaps caused by the new demographics in the neighborhood who have pushed out the traditional client base? Maybe the new folks don’t know Jeffrey? Perhaps they don’t cook? Maybe they buy their meats at Wholefoods? If the latter is the case, then I hope that we can convince them to visit Jeffrey. He is the real deal!

    Perhaps we can have a rally? A flyer campaign? Maybe local stores and restaurants could hand out flyers to their customers that push the following idea to “buy from your local butcher!”

  • Truhalter

    Jeffrey: You, your goodness and agenda of integrity will survive. All people, not just we Ruhalters, are rooting for you to come through this stronger than ever, and continue a 3 generation old legacy that should not be ceased for financial reasons.
    With love and regards and admiration for how you are dealing with this, and whom you obviously are as a person—–Todd Ruhalter

  • http://blog.mountainman908.com Ajay Smith

    You will be missed

  • Setanta

    Jeffrey’s on his way back – met one of his butchers at the weekend and he’s due to be back up and running around Easter/Passover time. Lookout lambs!!