“The best part of this business is the people,” says Jim Gelhausen, owner of the Meat Market. “Without them, I couldn’t do what I do.”

On June 4, Gelhausen and his family and employees celebrated 40 years in business at the shop on the corner of and Crescent Avenues. But few people realize he has been working there for much longer. Growing up in Wyoming, Gelhausen delivered papers and caddied at Wyoming Golf Club. He started working after school at the market in 1969, and eventually apprenticed as a butcher with the shop’s original owner, Roger Johnson.

“Great people taught me the trade,” Gelhausen says of that time.

As Johnson grew older and started thinking of retiring, he offered to sell the market, and in June of 1979, after college at UC, Gelhausen agreed to purchase the business. He boughtthe building from its original owner, George Haller, and the Meat Market from Roger Johnson. The market has been a fixture ever since. “There are people who have shopped with me that whole time,” Gelhausen says.  He chats and jokes with the regular customers who stop in each week. On Saturdays in summer, his whole family, many of whom work in the market each day, will gather on to help grill burgers and brats for a hungry crowd, and his vintage 1941 Chevrolet panel truck with the Meat Market logo has become a familiar sight around town.

Over the years, the business has seen some changes. More families have two parents working than in the past, so demand has risen for prepared foods. With the rise of the “foodie” movement, more people want to purchase locally sourced products than ever before.  In the last couple of years, the Meat Market began offering locally raised Sakura Wagyu beef, which Gelhausen says simply, “is the very best product out there.”

And yet, he’s still the same small-town butcher he was when he took over the business, buying whole cows and cutting the meat himself. Meat Market is one of only a few in the country that break whole animals. “There’s only 96 of us dummies still doing it,” Gelhausen jokes.

It has paid off, however. In addition to the many devoted customers who shop at the market, local restaurants like CWC, Tela, and have turned to Gelhausen for their provisions as well. It’s a case of neighboring businesses helping each other succeed, and it’s part of why Gelhausen is so grateful to be in the heart of Wyoming.

“This town has been a blessing,” he says, and he’s not joking around.