Nearly 60 years after opening its doors in Missoula, Diamond Bar Meats will serve its last customer in less than a month.
Owner, Jay Erickson, says he owes the community a great debt of gratitude for their success.
The meat business has been more than just a career for Jay -- it’s been a way of life.
“I’ve been working at the shop here since I was 10, so now I’m 62. I’ve got 52 years here, started with my dad," Erickson said.
Eventually, Jay was joined by his son, Jeff.
Now, 57 years after opening, Diamond Bar Meats will be closing its doors for good on Aug. 1. Jay says it’s time to retire and enjoy the things he’s been longing to do.
“We’ve always worked six days a week, so now we’re going to spend some time with our family," he told MTN News. "And I’ve got some grandkids, and do a little bit of traveling, and see my relatives that don’t live around here.”
Jay hasn’t given much thought to selling the business.
“If somebody wants to come in and wants to do it, there’s a lot of things that they’re going to have to do," he explained. "The equipment’s getting a little older and they’ll have to replace it, and there are some things they’re going to have to fix before they’ll be able to do it.”
That’s why he’s chosen to focus on closing the shop.
MTN News asked Jay if he had any special memories in his 50+ years at Diamond Bar Meats, and he said those special memories were made every day by customers walking through the door.
“My memory is all the people I got to help. I mean it’s just been a true joy to help people and to see the happiness that they have and to interact with them and get to have them as friends rather than just customers," Jay said.
Until those doors close for the final time, don’t be surprised to see customers in lines like these waiting their turn to get the meat and service that has kept the community coming back again and again for nearly six decades.
Jay told MTN News that he wants to thank the Missoula community for all the support his business has received over the years and says he will miss them greatly.