LEXINGTON ─ Mary Anne Kettering has always tried to stay upbeat, even in hard times.
That attitude helped her get through the ups and downs of her business, Mary Anne’s Meat Market, over the years. Now, it will keep her stay positive with a tough decision that she just made ─ putting the meat market up for sale, instead of closing it.
Since putting out the for-sale sign last week, Kettering has received plenty of calls from customers asking “what’s wrong?” or “are you OK?” It was so overwhelming that she decided to explain it in a video and post it on the shop’s Facebook page. Dozens of people commented on the post with care and best wishes.
Kettering said opening a meat market was her dream as a little girl.
“Once you cut meat or you're in this industry, you either love it or you hate it. It gets in your blood. I love what I do,” she said. “And if I'm going to do it, I want to do it well. So, I do put extra time in. But I take pride in what I do.”
She is grateful for the success. But the health issues that accompany the growing business have forced her to slow down and eventually step down.
She started at the same location as a deer processor. The building had no heat or a restroom at that time. Five years later, she finally made enough money to open Mary Anne’s Meat Market in March 2007. The shop sells steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts and many other products.
The business just keeps booming, she said. But next year, she broke her leg and ended up in a wheelchair for months. In 2017, an elderly woman crashed her car into the shop. While no one was injured, the building was damaged so badly the business had to stay closed for almost 14 months.
With her resilience, Kettering managed to get through the hardship. The Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development honored her with the new entrepreneurial spirit award in 2019.
Kettering said more than 1,000 people came to the shop on the first day of its reopening. The community’s support has floored her over the years.
“The main thing is you treat people right. You stand behind your product. You stand behind your service. You let people know you care. People don't care until they know you care. I really truly love my customers,” she said.
“They're not just customers. Most of them are like friends or families to me. I'm gonna miss them horribly.”
Her customers understood her decision to sell the business. They told her they love her and appreciate her service. They want her to find some joy after the sale is completed, which Kettering said means a lot to her.
She said she is selling the name with the business, along with the meat freezer and other equipment. She wanted to make the transition easier for everyone. The buyer will not “miss a beat.”
Kettering said she is sad but also excited about the change.
“Sometimes, we're forced to make decisions we don't want to make. But I trust God. When he closes one door, he always opens another,” she said.
Kettering believed she will stay busy after leaving the business. She wanted to go to a seminary and perhaps teach one day. She will also be working at her farm and, most importantly, spending more time with her family.
Anyone interested in buying Mary Anne’s Meat Market can contact Whatman Realtors at 419-756-8012 for more information.