The sign reads “Nesbitt’s Meat Market,” but though Jim Nesbitt still drops in for a chat on Saturday mornings, for the past 19 years it’s Adam Hayward who has owned and operated the business. And it was over 30 years ago that Hayward, at 13, began working part-time there as a ‘clean-up lad.’
Through high-school and as he completed a butchery program at George Brown College and business management at Humber, Hayward took on additional responsibilities and gained skills in cutting and grinding and running a business.
“Jim Nesbitt was a great mentor and friend who still helps me to this day,” says Hayward. Beyond the technical skills, the lessons that stayed with Hayward were to work hard, treat customers and employees with respect, and offer a quality product at a fair price.
The products he sells are raised and processed in Ontario, some sourced from local suppliers when possible. Occasionally, he’ll do wild-game cutting (venison, bear, moose). During the Christmas season there will be close to 600 turkey, lamb, steaks, and pork roast orders.
Over the years he’s been building the business, such as buying the rest of the Cambridge Mall. He brought in new display units. Young entrepreneurs are now suppliers for sauces and condiments, and recently he hired a red seal chef who does spicing and marinades and brings new ideas. She joins a staff of nine: cutters, front-of-house staff, bookkeeper — and of course, a clean-up lad.
“I couldn’t do this without them,” Hayward says.
When Nesbitt first came to him about buying the business Adam had $500 and a used car as collateral. Banks weren’t prepared to come through with loans, but Kawartha Lakes Community Futures Development Corporation (KLCFDC) did.
The loans have long been repaid, but Hayward hasn’t forgotten the leg up he received. He’s been on the Community Futures Board for a decade and is a past president. He’s been a Rotarian for 10 years and on the LEX board for almost as long. The burgers for the annual Rotary Club Burger Day are donated by Nesbitt’s and the business regularly offers gifts or discounted products for local events.
Those are ways of giving back to the town where he was born and where he and his wife, Nancy, are raising their two children, Hilary and Grant.