After 27 years as the top independent butcher in Newhall, Dave Heuer, owner of Dave’s Country Meats on Lyons Avenue, is hanging up his cleaver, closing up shop, and retiring.
“I can’t wait,” Heuer said Tuesday, as he and his daughter worked on cleaning out the last remaining items in the nearly empty store, which closes for good May 30. “I’m ready for my next chapter of my life.”
Heuer’s meat market has been a fixture on Lyons, adjacent to The Plaza Theatre and the Lyons Car Wash, for a couple of generations. His tagline: “You Can’t Beat My Meat.”
“Actually, I worked here for Phil’s Market in 1969 through ’85, and in ’85 Phil’s closed and I started my own business in the same building,” Heuer said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’ve met so many wonderful people as my customers over the years. I’m going to miss them, but things have to change. Doors close, doors open.”
The timing of his retirement wasn’t entirely Heuer’s choice; his lease on the market expires at the end of May.
“We weren’t able to renew it,” he said. “This building has been leased out for a 25-year period and they’re going to put restaurants in here. So it’s kind of a mutual agreement. I kind of welcomed the push that I got, because I’d probably never leave (laughs). But it’s time, and there are no regrets. It’s been a wonderful ride for the last 30 years here.”
As he’s always done, Heuer’s still looking out for his customers. He’s referring them to Bob’s Country Meats on Soledad Canyon Road across town in Canyon Country, owned by Keith Morrey for the past 23 years.
“We’ve known each other for more than 20 years,” Heuer said. “Keith’s a good man. I have his cards here and I’m recommending his shop when I close. He’s got quality product like I did, he’s honest, he knows what he’s doing. He’s a very capable butcher.”
“Dave’s done a good business over there all these years for all the people on that side of town, and he and I have been real friendly about it,” Morrey said. “If he needs something I have, I give it to him. If he has something I need, same thing. We take care of each other. So it’s sad to see him go. But on the other hand, that gives me a little more opportunity to do some business with his good customers. If they come over here, we’ll take good care of them.”
Heuer said he has no immediate plans after shuttering the shop.
“Right now I’m going to take a couple months off and think about it and relax and then I’ll probably travel, see the kids in another part of the country,” he said. “You know, in this business you don’t get a vacation very often. You’re working five, six, seven days a week, long hours. So it’s a release. The pressure is off. I can just kick back and enjoy what life is left.
“I just want to thank all the people who supported me over the years,” Heuer said. “It’s a bittersweet situation, but everything’s going to be fine, and thank you so much.