Palumbo’s Meat Market of DuBois started as a small, family-owned business more than 90 years ago, and has grown to be a legendary meat supplier recognized around the country.
Owner Joe Palumbo’s father, Dominic, was born in Italy in 1902. After working in the coal mining industry in the Penfield area, he taught himself the butchering trade, opening a store on West Long Avenue in 1927.
His three sons, Ted, Tom and Joe, all became a part of the business, which eventually expanded when Joe bought it in 1980 and added a full-size “sausage, curing and smoking kitchen” and moved operations across the street, according to the Palumbo’s Meats website.
Joe says the family history goes back even further, with his grandfather traveling in horse and wagon, selling meats door to door.
Joe bought the Wilson Meat Packing Plant in 1976, remodeled it, and put a smaller store there in 1977, which the meat business outgrew, he said. Palumbo’s Meat Market, at its current location on West Long Avenue, opened in 1984-1985, Joe said. He has since added to the building three times.
Palumbo’s buys a lot of Ohio cattle, and attends auctions for grain-fed and some grass-fed beef, he said. The meat was formerly purchased from local farmers.
Palumbo’s purchases 15-18 live beef per week, and around 20 hogs, Joe said, while also receiving a tractor trailer of more than 45,000 pounds of beef and 15,000-18,000 pounds of pork per week. Through individual and wholesales, the meat market sells 40-50,000 pounds of beef weekly.
Palumbo’s makes all of its own sausages, lunch meats and award-winning snack sticks and hot dogs, Joe says. All products are manufactured in DuBois.
Joe gave the company food truck to his granddaughter, Jolea Palumbo, who takes it to area fairs and festivals to sell Palumbo’s meats. His other granddaughter, Lilly, and grandson, Anthony, also work for the business.
Joe has three children — Stephanie, Leroy and Mandi, and has been married to his wife, Luana, for 54 years.
Sherry Scolese, a Reynoldsville native and Palumbo’s employee of 40 years, is now the general manager. She has made several friends through regular customers. Mike McLaughlin is the meat and maintenance manager.
Palumbo’s sees customers from just about everywhere, including Clearfield, St. Marys, Pittsburgh, Altoona and even people who live in far-away states and call and ask for products to be shipped.
The town of DuBois has given a lot to him over the years, Joe says.
“We have good city council people, a good city manager,” he says. “There are a lot of good people in this area.”
Joe and his employees have grown to call customers by their names, and learn about their lives.
“We have a lot of people in here every week,” McLaughlin said. “We know who they are and what they want.”
McLaughlin says Joe and the staff are like family to him. When an employee is having a tough time, Joe never hesitates to give them a box of food to take home.
Joe sits on the Palumbo Charitable Trust foundation, and aims to give back to various causes, including efforts of local fire companies.
“The City of DuBois has been fantastic to me,” Joe says. “That’s why I like to give back.”
Joe’s brother, Ted, also runs Ted’s Meat Market in Reynoldsville.
The checkout counter at Palumbo’s says it all, since it is filled with family photos collected and kept throughout the years.
He couldn’t do it without his employees, Joe says, who are a huge part of the business.
“We have good quality meats, good prices and we care,” Joe said. “It’s all about having good people working for you.”