BROOKVILLE — Once a staple at the Jefferson County Fair, the Palumbo’s Meat stand has returned after being handed down to the fourth generation of the Palumbo Family.
Jolea Palumbo proudly took over the food stand for her grandfather this year.
Jolea graduated from Brookville in 2016, went to school in Texas and became a licensed esthetician. She has many memories of growing up around the meat market. She speaks fondly of her brother, sister, and herself playing hide and seek in the meat cooler.
Palumbo’s Meat Market was opened in 1927 by Dominic Palumbo, who came to the area as an immigrant from Italy. He learned the trade of butchering in his own backyard. His three sons Ted, Tom, and Joe worked in the business as well.
Use of the truck began 50 years ago in 1968 by Joe Palumbo Sr. and his sister Theresa. They started out at the Clearfield County Fair for the first five years, then expanded to other events for about 15 years before again limiting its appearance to Clearfield.
Theresa stopped working the truck about 11 years ago, but said “It was hard work, but we met a lot of hardworking people.”
In 1980 Joe Palumbo Sr. bought the whole business, moved it across the street from the original site, and began expanding. He added full size sausage and curing and smoking kitchen.
After working with his father from a young age Joe “LeRoy” Palumbo Jr. became a stockholder in Palumbo’s Meats of DuBois Inc. in 2001.
His daughter, Jolea has been working at the food stand in Clearfield for six years. She started when she was about 14 in the truck, and then started helping in the market when she was 16.
This year her grandfather decided the truck was just too much for him. He still works at the market every day, and “he’s 73 and shows no signs of retiring anytime soon” according to Jolea.
“It’s important to me to keep it going because it has been around so long,” Jolea said of taking over the truck. She said that everyone else in the family that had a stand has gotten rid of them and added, “I don’t want this one to disappear.”
When she got the truck she gave it a new paint job, which it hadn’t had in many years. She did a slight redesign of the characters around the truck, with the help of Donnie Pangallo.
This is the first year the truck has gone anywhere other than the Clearfield Fair in many years. Jolea said the only stops for the truck this year would be the Jefferson and Clearfield county fairs, but she might add more locations in coming years. “I wanted to get my feet in the water here,” she said of the Jefferson County Fair.
She said the truck is different work than being in the market. More prepping goes into the fairs, with a lot of guess work on how much food will be needed. Coming to the Jefferson Fair was more difficult than Clearfield because she wasn’t sure about what kind of traffic to expect.
She has about three to five workers in the truck at a time. Her mother and sister help her in the truck, but she does have to bring in some outside help.
Her brother and sister also help out in the meat market as well. When their grandfather does decide to retire, they plan to keep the business in the family.
Of being the fourth generation to take over the operation of the truck at the fair, Jolea said, “It makes me happy to see my grandpa proud.”