By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Tom Lowe, owner of Lowe’s Variety and Meat Shop at 255 West Main St. in Northborough, has been proud to be known as the hometown butcher and grocer serving the community for 35 years.
The premise has always been to provide quality meat, fish and produce along with everyday items that people need.
He credits his longtime success to his experienced staff of 31 employees.
“It’s because of the experienced staff in all departments that I have been able to expand and improve every year,” said Lowe.
The grocery business has been a family business and dates back to Lowe’s grandparents. His first employers were his Aunt Joan and Uncle Jim.
He bought the store in 1986 from his Uncle Bill and Aunt Doris, who he started working for in 1978. One priority that has not changed over the years is being a local business that is a true part of the community it serves.
Indeed, Lowe knows his regular customers by name.
“The best part is still being part of a small town,” said Lowe. “It’s like a big family; you can really feel that.”
Whether it is a specialty cut of meat or a new kind of gravy, Lowe prides himself on providing quality and fresh foods.
“We are known as the butcher, and that specialty sets you apart from most places,” said Lowe.
Captain Marden’s Seafood supplies the store with fish, which is a big part of the business.
“They are the fish supplier to many Worcester and Boston area restaurants,” Lowe said. “It speaks quality.”
It’s also important to Lowe to partner with other local businesses and support organizations and charitable events.
“You have to participate in town,” he said.
He sells vegetables from Indian Head Farm in Berlin all summer long. He offers coffee from Armeno Coffee Roasters and local honey from local growers. Recently, he started selling items from Little Shop of Olive Oils.
Those partnerships are part of Lowe’s philosophy of being successful.
“It’s important,” he said. “It’s not about the amount of money you donate; it’s that you are a part of it.”
The pandemic impacted Lowe’s Variety and Meat Shop. There were challenges from disrupted supply chains to occupancy restrictions and constantly changing health and safety protocols.
Lowe is optimistic for summer, as more people are vaccinated, and the weather gets warmer, though. His store will be ready to supply customers with everything needed for BBQs and long-awaited get-togethers. He is also excited to fully reopen Two Doors Away Café, which he co-owns. That spot has only been open for take-out on Friday nights.
The store offers customers convenience. As such, its marinated prepared products are just as much a part of the business as fresh-cut meats and fish.
“The more we can change and adapt to what people are looking for, the better,” he said.
If prospective customers have never stepped inside of the store, Lowe encourages them to do so.
“It pays to take a stroll through and see what we have,” Lowe said. “We end up surprising people.”
Special meat and seafood orders are welcomed year round. They can be placed by phone at 508-393-6594 and are usually able to be picked up the next day. Store hours are M-F 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Follow Lowe’s on Facebook.