From the turn of the century until today…
The first LaBonne retail operations were on wheels. By delivering fresh fish and meat directly to local families and businesses, George LaBonne, LaBonne Epicure’s progenitor, knew that his customers were getting the freshest goods possible. Continuously satisfying or going beyond customers’ expectations, George grew his business.
George LaBonne knew that one of the most important ingredients in providing customers with superior quality meats and fish was to extend an equally superior level of service designed to sustain the same high quality and remarkable freshness that he demanded from his resources and vendors.
Preserving and sharpening the “dual edge” of high quality and exceptional service, five generations of LaBonne’s have expanded their family business, adding new merchandise categories, extending new services and opening new locations in Connecticut neighborhoods.
The company’s current owner and CEO is Bob LaBonne Jr. His great-great-grandfather, George LaBonne, sold fresh meat and fish from a horse and wagon around the turn of the century. Today, LaBonne’s has grown considerably. Although George LaBonne “started” the business, the company’s expansion is the result of efforts that began years after George’s passing.
Over 50 years ago, in 1962, Bob LaBonne’s Grandfather, Hy LaBonne who had been a master meat cutter for 44 years, established the original concept. Hy had a strong desire to have his own store. Vigorously pursuing his dream, the senior LaBonne realized his objective in 1962 when he opened a modest meat market in Watertown. Knowing there were plenty of customers who wanted a better cut of meat, Hy marketed superior meats and services to this under-served market.
From this modest beginning, the LaBonne name became synonymous with quality. Bob’s Grandfather, Hy, made sure that only practiced cuts, taken from the best sides of beef were offered to his customers. Of course, the store’s reputation and business took root and grew. The business did very well, surviving the trials and tribulations of any fledgling operation and despite some serious “lean” moments. The drive for independence provided the fortitude to “stay the course”.
From the beginning, the LaBonne name became known for quality meat and fish. From these two freshness-driven categories, Hy LaBonne began venturing into other “linked” areas, offering a small selection of vegetables and other edibles. As his offerings grew, the matter of quality remained fixed while he gained experience in the store’s newer assortments of merchandise. The resulting customer-experience with the LaBonne family would remain one of finding consistently high-quality goods surpassed, only on occasion, by superior customer-care and service.
Hy LaBonne, like so many others before and after him, felt he should bring family into the business. And as the family grew, so did the family’s business, strong and true to their common nurturer, those strong roots deeply grounded in quality goods and service.