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Millcreek 'boutique market' will include a demonstration kitchen and beer and wine shop
News Source/Courtesy: www.goerie.com

Kyle Bohrer is described as a man with no rear-view mirror.

"He's always looking forward," a business partner, Martin Firestone, said.

Bohrer, wife Allison Bohrer and Jonathan and Paula Markley bought the 40-year-old Gordon's meat market in the Summit Plaza at Peach Street and Washington Avenue in Millcreek in October 2019 and immediately began plans to relocate and expand it.

Anybody who knows me knows that I don't move slowly," said Bohrer, who oversees daily operations at the market.

Kyle Bohrer and Jon Markley's Market Real Estate Holdings last month bought the vacant Hillsdale Plaza, located a little farther north on Peach Street, and is renovating it to house an expanded Gordon's Butcher & Market, a wine and beer shop, and a demonstration kitchen and catering business where Firestone will be the executive chef.

"It's going to be a boutique market where you can shop, eat, drink and get the whole experience of food," Bohrer said.

The $2.2 million project includes gutting the plaza to provide 7,000 square feet of open space with concrete floor and exposed ductwork and rafters.

"It's going to have a Seattle fish market kind of feel," Bohrer said.

The expanded Gordon's Butcher & Market will have twice as much deli space, about one-third more space for fresh-cut meats, larger poultry and seafood departments, and new fresh produce and bakery sections.

A $400,000 federal C.A.R.E.S. Act grant from Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative will help fund the work. The grants were awarded this fall for projects that make fresh, nutritious foods more readily available in moderate- and low-income neighborhoods.

Gordon's is reaching out to local farmers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables when the expanded store opens in the spring.

The new Cap & Cork wine and beer shop will feature local craft beers and wines. Firestone, with the Bohrers and Markleys, will be a co-owner of the shop. 

Firestone's wood-fire demonstration kitchen will offer some sit-down dining indoors and outside as weather permits. But it will focus on chef-made grab-and-go meals, cooking classes and cooking demonstrations for front-counter patrons and others watching on closed-circuit television.

"You'll be able to grab a steak at the market and watch me cook it up. I'll talk you through how I do it while you have a glass of wine," Firestone said.

"The meat will be right from the butcher shop. You can't get fresher than that," he said.

Firestone has worked in the restaurant industry for three decades —  at the Erie Club and other restaurants and most recently for 13 years at Lake Shore Country Club in Fairview.

The demonstration kitchen at Gordon's Butcher & Market will be unique in the Erie area, he said.

"We'll have couples nights and other special events. We also will invite outside guest chefs to demonstrate making a meal, maybe a signature pasta, and have that pasta on the shelf to sell. We'll promote local talent too, as you see in a lot of large cities," Firestone said.

The interactive experiences will be part of the restaurant industry's "new normal," Firestone said.

"It's part of how COVID has changed the industry," Firestone said. "Restaurants are finding new ways to serve customers in smaller groups."

Firestone also will offer delivery service and catering.

Longtime Gordon's customer Judy Gerlach, of Millcreek, likes what she's heard of the market's expansion plans. Gerlach has shopped at Gordon's, particularly for "great meat and friendly service" for about 20 years.

"It's exciting," Gerlach said. "Especially with everything going on right now, it's great to see the business growing."

Gordon's Butcher & Market also is growing in employees, from eight or nine employees in October 2019 to about 15 today. Bohrer expects to employ 30 people when the new plaza location opens in March.

The business originally was known as Gordon's Quality Meat Market and was founded by Gordon Wunch in 1980. 

Wunch sold the business to butcher Alex Ruban in 1990. Ruban and his wife, Donna, developed some of the business' best-known products, including city chicken and ox roast.

New owners Bohrer and Jonathan Markley have other business interests.

Bohrer owns and operates multiple franchises of Unishippers, offering small package and freight shipping.

Markley is president of Great Lakes Data Racks & Cabinets in Edinboro.

Contact Valerie Myers at vmyers@timesnews.com.

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News Source: www.goerie.com

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