Amid the proliferation of warehouse clubs, national chains, mega malls and other retail category killers, there still exists niche for local merchants to do business together like they did in the old days.
Such is the case with Marc Katz and Ronnie Ferrara. Katz, a consultant for in Mineola, a sports bar and grill, makes an almost daily drive to , where he purchases his meats and spends time with a friend.
When Katz helped to , he said he specifically sought out a local butcher. While often driving by Andy’s New Hyde Park Meats, Katz said he never went inside the village staple until one day during a bagel and coffee run, striking up a conversation with Ferrara.
“He said he wanted to buy from a local butcher,” Ferrara recalled. “That worked for me.”
“Back in the day, butchers always bought from butchers,” Katz said. “When I walk in [Andy’s], I feel like I’m home — it’s the greatest feeling going in there. It’s a treat for me to go there and talk to Ronnie, talk about the meat business, see the guys in the white coats cutting meats the old fashioned way.”
Andy’s New Hyde Park Meats has been serving local restaurants in the village and neighboring towns for decades. It began in 1936 in Queens and moved to New Hyde Park 16 years ago. Andy’s was started by Ronnie’s dad. Today, Ronnie, son Chris, and partner Phil Sousa, run the business.
“Basically, it’s about doing things the right way,” Ferrara said. “People today don’t have time to run all over the place. They want to do business with someone they feel good about. You may pay a few more pennies with me but you know what you’ll get. Our hamburger sells itself.”
Andy’s New Hyde Park Meats grinds the chop meat right in front of Katz on his visits. “The fact you can go to a neighborhood guy… we’re kind of like cousins, no actually we can’t be family because we get along too well,” Katz said with a grin. “We have a great thing going, classic old school working together. It’s a village thing – New Hyde Park and Mineola.”
Katz said that for a small business like his to survive, he has to buy locally. “I can buy more quality meat from Andy’s than any wholesaler,” he said.
Their business relationship has grown in a short time the restaurant has been open. “Andy’s is more than a place to buy my meat, he’s my partner,” Katz said. “If I succeed, he succeeds. People love that I buy my meat there, but if the quality isn’t there, we won’t survive.”
Fortunately for both businesses, the quality is there, something Ferrara agrees is paramount. “The trick for surviving and staying alive today is service and putting out the right product at the right price,” he said. “We’ve never had to advertise. We’ve always been a word of mouth business.”
That word reaches from New Hyde Park to Mineola and beyond.