Patricia and Richard Boivin (left) of Rocky Mountain Meats pass their shop keys to new owners, Jenise Caseley and Chris Gerlach. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood business owners pass the torch

After 41 years, Patricia and Richard Boivin of Rocky Mountain Meats hang up their aprons

After 41 years, Patricia and Richard Boivin of Rocky Mountain Meats will be hanging up their aprons and passing their shop keys to new owners.

For almost half a century, the couple has been the face of the popular Sparwood meat store in Centennial Square. Patricia and Richard are excited to finally enter retirement.

Originally from Quebec, the couple moved to Sparwood in 1978. They met while working for the Hudson Bay Company and eventually decided that a new business opportunity in the west held a promising future for them both.

“We come out here then we bought the business, 41 years after…” laughed Patricia.

She could find no better way to describe the community of Sparwood than “lovely”. Together, Patricia and Richard raised a family in the mountain town, and are proud to also call its residents their extended family.

“(It’s) just (been) fantastic,” she said. “Really, we hate to leave, we like to retire but we hate to leave.”

The couple will now move to Cranbrook to be closer to two of their children.

The past 41 years have not been easy for Patricia and Richard. Working together on a daily basis, Patricia admitted she’s slightly relieved to retire.

“It took a lot of hard work over the years to get where we got,” she said. “So we deserve everything we get, really.”

Hailing from rural Alberta, the new owners-to-be, Jenise Caseley and Chris Gerlach, are eager to take over a business they are both passionate about.

“We’re really fortunate we met such nice people to train, (they’re) doing well,” said Patricia.

The young family has lived in Sparwood for the past year and have since fallen in love with the community. For both, moving to B.C. is a dream come true.

“We saw this on the market and figured, let’s take the jump, the leap, get into it and serve the community,” said Caseley.

Gerlach says their focus will be to continue providing the same high quality meat that Sparwood locals have come to love.

“I want to keep everything pure, I don’t want to end up buying from big distributors,” said Gerlach.

“If we’re going to buy something that’s already made, I want it from a local family. Pure, good food. I don’t want none of those additive(s), preservatives, nothing.”

Gerlach is no stranger to the meat industry. He was raised on a ranch, hauled cattle for years, owned a trucking company and also butchered for 15 years.

Gerlach is proud of their in-house burger and salami recipes, which he is excited to share with the community. He said because the burgers are pure, they are seven ounces before you cook them and seven ounces when they’re cooked. All of their binders are natural and meat-based.

“That’s the big picture,” he said. “We want to get out to people, the best food we can provide them.”

Gerlach explained that locals can expect the same or better quality food, without a price increase. They will also feature in-housemade burgers, jerky, sausage, pepperoni, salami and more.

“As much as we can do in here, we’re going to do it,” said Gerlach.

Just like before, they will continue to offer custom cutting and wrapping. In the coming weeks, Gerlach will be visiting their local suppliers to ensure that the quality of cuts they receive are the very best.

With this big adventure ahead of them, both Gerlach and Caseley are excited for what the future will hold. They hope this new business will help them and their two children to grow closer. In the past, Gerlach has always worked away from home.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing for our family,” said Caseley.

To celebrate the official handover of the business on April 1, the new owners will host a free barbecue, which will feature their own homemade buns and burgers.

The barbecue will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of Rocky Mountain Meats in Centennial Square.

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