May 26, 2022

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Skillful Business Crafters

Boyers Market and Catering closes after 72 years in business

Boyers Marketing & Catering closed its doors for good on Christmas Eve.

A Boyer family member has operated a store at Route 662, also known as Old Swede Road, and Old Airport Road in the village of Amityville since 1949.

The building had housed a general store since around 1843, but COVID-19 and a labor shortage brought an end to the business there.

“Things just went downhill after the pandemic,” said Harriet F. Boyer, who began operating the business at 1104 Old Airport Road with her late husband, Harold S. “Butch” Boyer Jr., in 1960. “We couldn’t do any catering during the pandemic and we did more business through that than in the store.”

Harold S. Boyer Sr. in the general store he opened in 1949 in Amityville. His son, Harold S. “Butch” Boyer and the son’s wife, Harriet F., purchased the business in 1960. Boyers Market & Catering, 1104 Old Airport Road, Amity Township, closed its doors for good Dec. 24, 2021. (Courtesy of the Boyer family)

Butch’s father, Harold S. Boyer Sr., had purchased the store property in September 1949.

Boyer said she sold the business to her daughter, Marcy Woods, a year after Butch’s death in 2013. Woods had purchased the business for her daughter, Kara McQuaite, but things did not work out as planned.

Boyer said her granddaughter has increasing physical limitations that prevent her from being able to do the job of running the business due to a congenital back issue that has been getting worse.

“Our cook that had been with us for 20-some years left us in June,” Boyer said, noting the cook moved to Louisiana to be close to her son and grandchildren.

“Things just aren’t right,” Boyer said. “You can’t hire anybody.”

She said her grandson helps out at the business, but he has other pursuits.

Boyer never retired. She continued to do the bookkeeping for the business since 2014.

“I’m going to be 80 on Jan. 3 and I’m just done,” Boyer said. “It’s just run its course.”

The impact the store, or more accurately the people who worked at the store, had on the community will not soon be forgotten.

“In 1972, I went to work for Harrold Boyer Jr., or Butch, and then went into the Air Force in 1975,” wrote Steve Ebling in an email Tuesday. “I worked primarily in Butch’s new store in Douglassville, which he opened in ’72. Can’t begin to tell you how many trips I made between the two stores shuttling all kinds of goods/merchandise. And, it was Butch who got me involved in the Amity Fire Company.”

Ebling is 65 and now lives in Littleton, Colo., but had moved from Reading to Amityville in 1962. He has lived in Colorado since 1979, but said he still fondly remembers the village and the man who offered so many young employees guidance.

After Butch Boyer’s death in 2013, several former employees told Reading Eagle reporter Mike Urban they referred to their teen years working at the market as attending “Boyer’s University” because of the life lessons he imparted upon them in addition to training them how to slice meat and run the cash register.

For others in the community, the comforting food that Boyers provided will be sorely missed.

Ralph Swoyer, 51, of Amityville said he doesn’t remember exactly how many of Boyers’ famous hoagies he purchased while taking a lunch break from mowing the Amityville cemetery when he was a teen.

“Buying stamps there as a kid with my Dad and making sure we had pepper cabbage from Boyers for all of our holiday meals,” were two other memories Swoyer said he had.

Courtesy of Amity Heritage Society

The Frank M. John General Store at Route 662, also known as Old Swede Road, and Old Airport Road, circa 1923. Harold S. Boyer Sr. would eventually purchase the building in 1949 and Boyers Market and Catering would be in business there until Dec. 24, 2021. (Courtesy of Amity Heritage Society)

Boyers Market was home to the Athol Post Office until 1979.

The post office opened in the general store building on Jan. 6, 1885. Since there already was an Amityville Post Office elsewhere, federal postal officials chose Athol as the name for an unknown reason local historian George M. Meiser IX said.

The first general store on the site is believed to have been constructed there in 1843.

Boyers Market & Catering closed because of pandemic impact