Collins’ Meat Market celebrating 40 years

| July 24, 2020

Sean, Gary and Toby Collins proudly display Collins’ Meat Market’s new banner celebrating their 40th year in business. Collins’ is located on Kenilworth Avenue in Coshocton. (Jen Jones)

In 1973 Gary Collins started working at Young’s IGA at age 16 carrying groceries. Store manager Dick Selders asked him if he would want to go into the meat department on Friday and Saturday to help clean. He started learning to cut meat when he was 17. Today, he is known as “The Meat Man.”

“When I was young, I thought about doing body work and painting cars, but that didn’t pan out,” Collins said. “As soon as I graduated, I went to work for two years in Wooster at Ron Boyer’s IGA stores. In 1980 I rented the place on Main Street and opened my own shop.”
After paying rent for 12 years, Collins purchased the former Klinger’s Market on Kenilworth and is still there today.
“My dad and I gutted the market. I worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the market on Main, then came here and worked on the new place until midnight or after. I did that for five months. We even lived in the upstairs,” Collins said.
Collins is thankful his dad, Gordon, was able to help him remodel the store and see it open before he passed away in 1993.
“My parents always supported me in everything I wanted to try. They were awesome parents. My mom, Dorothy, she worked in the store with us until she wasn’t able to anymore. Everyone knew her,” Collins said.
Collins said his wife, Toby, and son, Sean, have always been big supporters of him too. “They are always ready to help out when needed,” he said.
The Collins family is growing larger with the addition of two Boxer puppies, and a grandchild is expected in early September. “It’s always about family,” Collins said.
Ellen Bales, a longtime employee of the market, agreed Collins is about family. “Any time any of us employees need time off for our families — or our families need something — Gary and Toby take care of us. This is the best place to work.”
Collins is proud he was able to purchase the butcher block he learned to cut meat on when he was 17. “It was sold at an auction, and Roscoe General Store bought it. He called me and said he had something he thought I might be interested in. I knew it was the same one and bought it,” he said.
That butcher block is still used in his market.
The COVID-19 virus has been one of the most difficult things Collins has had to weather as a small business. “We’ve been slammed since February. I’m still trying to catch up. At first, we were still able to get meat when other places were selling out so fast, so we got a lot of new customers. Then, when I would order five of something, I would get one,” he said.
Collins said things have been crazy. “I’ve always thought I could handle anything, but I was starting to wonder. It was a wild, crazy ride, and I’ve never seen anything like it. We have always had people that come from out of town to get meat, but we got so many new customers. We really had a hard time keeping up, and we hated that meat prices jumped so much,” he said.
Collins discussed cutting everything himself. “I cut everything myself, and after this long, I still have all of my fingers. Everyone knows me,” he said.
“Gary cuts meat the way you want it. He’s always friendly and talks to everyone. This is exactly the way a family market should be in a small town,” said Frank Cichon, a regular customer at the market.
Collins’ Meat Market offers economy meat bundles from $19.95-$179.95. The market is located on Kenilworth Avenue and is open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can visit their webpage at or find them on Facebook. Their phone number is 740-622-4625.

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