Alf Gurr came to Canada as a fourteen-year-old boy. Meat cutting had been Alf’s trade in England. In Lethbridge he had a number of jobs including managing Burns’ meat market. Eventually, Alf left Burns and started his own meat market on 3rd Avenue South with his sons Harry, Alf and Bill called Palace Meat Market. Alf also went on to become the meat manager at Hoefer & Wood grocery from 1954 to 1957. In those days it was quite unique to have a store that sold groceries along with a meat department, a produce department and a bakery. It would have been a new industry trend to have everything under one roof.
In 1978, Duane Gurr began working in the meat department of the grocer that was once called Value Village. Duane took ownership of Value Village in 1990. To avoid confusion with the thrift shop giant, the store became London Road market in 2000. In conversation about the family trade, Duane Gurr has said “We just helped each other. My father taught me how to do it and it was actually a pretty fun time. It was a family thing. I always enjoyed it, and now [my son] David is making sausages and doing a great job. It’s a bit of a lost art. There’s not a lot of guys that can make sausage and link it anymore.”
Over the years, London Road Market has worked hard to nurture their relationships with local vendors and wholesalers and yet they still produce goods in-house from the bakery and deli to the meat department “We make smokies, beef jerky, Mennonite sausage, pepperoni and bacon.” Dave lights up when he talks about the dry-rub bacon produced over a 7-day process. “The taste is so good. We know it’s important to go back to basics.” Dave says, “When you think back and say, ‘Oh, my great-grandfather was doing the exact same thing 60 years ago.’ that’s pretty special.” This specialization of skilled trade and customer service has been passed through the generations of the Gurr family.
After almost a century of this family trade in the Lethbridge Dave declares, “My job is an adventure every day. Market trends are constantly changing. Online shopping and home delivery is a trend now. We’ve been doing home deliveries for years. When customers order from us they talk to someone on the phone. For some our clients that’s still really important.”
London Road Market also welcomes shoppers to the summer 2018 season outdoor market in their Upper Victoria Park parking lot on Wednesdays and Saturdays.