Becoming a butcher was easy for Nick Tatasciore.
“My family, on my Mom’s side, had a farm in Goulais so I was always around animals. I was always around it, they had their own animals to feed and slaughter, so when I picked up a knife, it wasn’t that hard (to become a butcher).”
Since 2013, Nick, with his trademark bow tie, has been not only a butcher, but also owner and operator of Prime Cuts Meat and Deli.
Prime Cuts has been in business for three decades.
Originally located at 147 Northern Avenue East (now the site of Metallo’s Mini Mart), it wasn’t long before the shop relocated to its current location across the street at 148 Northern Avenue East, due to an upswing in business.
When both original owners of Prime Cuts retired, Nick, a graduate of the former St. Basil Secondary school, stepped in and bought the business.
“The difference between being a butcher and the owner of a butcher shop is my day starts at 7 a.m. but it never really ends. I worry about my coolers, what may overheat, cross border shopping, these are things that you think about.”
Regardless, Nick said “I enjoy the time spent here.”
The busiest times of the year at Prime Cuts, Nick said, used to be the Christian religious holidays of Christmas and Easter, but he has noticed a drop in the number of older, traditionally Roman Catholic, predominantly Italian-Canadian customers.
“Almost year round we’re busier, from May to January, it’s a bit slow in February and March but it picks up again in April.”
A new clientele has come in, Nick said.
“That’s been a boost in support. There are younger Canadian people and kids from Sault College coming in and there’s more ethnic diversity there…I’ve cut down on the amount of pasta and pasta sauces I have for sale, and I’ve brought in more Eastern European meats, Portuguese cheese and things like that to round it out.”
“Things have changed from the way it was 40 years ago,” Nick said.
After owning Prime Cuts for four years, Nick laughed “I’m getting tired of eating meat,” saying he eats more pasta and salad these days.
Interestingly, Nick said “I’ve employed vegetarians, and now they eat meat.”