IP worker, cousin open meat store in Holland

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

HOLLAND—For Lorain Gardner, the closing of the International Paper Co. in Franklin is a blessing in disguise.

Among the 106 IP workers whose last day at the paper mill will be Friday, Gardner and his cousin have joined forces to open L&L Country Meats two miles east of Holland.

“I hope it pays the bills and puts food on the table,” said Gardner, who spent 22 years at IP. “Anything above would be a bonus.”

The Holland native and resident and his cousin, Lawrence Corbett of Suffolk, opened the store on April 17. It’s located at 5703 Holland Road in the former Pure convenience store near Pioneer Road.

They sell hand-cut steaks and pork chops, homemade sausage, smoked meats, cheeses, fresh ground burger, and local produce and eggs.

Gardner and Corbett talked about opening the business for two years. When IP in October announced it would close, eliminating 1,100 jobs, Gardner considered it more seriously. Corbett is also nearing retirement as a detective with the Norfolk Police Department.

The pair financed the business on their own, without a loan.

Gardner and Corbett are leasing the store — which required cleaning, painting and new floor tiles — and are considering someday processing deer meat. They purchased second-hand equipment for processing meat, including saws and grinders.

Family members and one full-time employee run the business.

L&L County Meats is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday. The store can be reached at 657-6360.