The history of Siemer Distributing Company has its roots in the grocery business. Joseph Siemer, Jr. owned and operated several grocery stores in Nelsonville, New Lexington, and Corning, Ohio during World War II. Joe Jr. also owned and operated a slaughterhouse and perfected his own smoked and cured hams and bacons. He sold his Corning and New Lexington stores to his sons Ed and Bob Siemer. Joe III purchased the slaughter and smokehouse business which he owned and operated until 1968.
In 1967 Joe III had an opportunity to purchase a truck and delivery route selling pre-packaged luncheon meats. Joe worked the route listening and learning from the customers. He sold mainly to mom and pop stores, and as they asked for different and varied products his inventory and routes grew. In 1968 he converted the processing plant into a refrigerated warehouse to hold his growing and varied inventory, and he added another truck to his route and hired his brother-in-law Pete Nash.
In 1982 Joe’s son David and son-in-law Phil Tobin came to work for him full time. His daughters Veronica Rogers and Susan Maynard joined them in 1987 and 1992, respectively. By this time Siemer Distributing Company had grown to five trucks and twenty employees, and as the company continued to grow a larger facility was needed. In 1995 a warehouse was purchased and converted in New Lexington. The location had an additional three acres and it was decided at that time to expand the ice manufacturing aspect of the business.
Today Siemer Distributing Company has grown to include over fifty-five employees. Business is carried out every day by a staff of five office personnel to take orders from the customers for delivery as well as three on-the-road salesmen to expand the ever-growing business. Ten twenty-four foot straight trucks and three semi trailer trucks to deliver the extensive inventory to customers and in 2006 a new addition of a 5000 square foot cooler/freezer.
To date, Siemer Distributing Company’s customer base has grown to include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, institutions, and special events. The delivery areas include West Virginia and all but the northwest corner of Ohio. Siemer Distributing Company is federally inspected daily thereby allowing them to ship product anywhere in the country.
In the late 70’s Joe’s customers started asking for ice cubes that were bagged up. Joe, always looking for ways to grow and improve, enlisted his wife and children to make ice cubes and bag them up. A small freezer was installed and about one hundred ice cube trays were filled, frozen, and emptied twice a day. As the demand grew icemakers (like the ones used in restaurants) were brought in and the children bagged and scooped twice daily. It wasn’t long before they were not able to keep up with the demand, so after Joe was finished with his delivery route he would drive to Athens, Ohio and purchase two tons of ice! The children would then go to the plant around midnight to help Joe unload the ice. After a couple of years of this routine Joe decided to purchase the ice plant in Athens and move it to his Corning location. Three new employees were hired to work the ice plant.
When Joe moved the company to New Lexington Buckeye Ice was formed.
In 1997 Pete Nash oversaw the construction of the new state of the art ice manufacturing facility and in 2000 a new storage facility was added. With the addition of the new storage facility the storage capacity was now up to 400,000 bags of ice and the new facility was now able to manufacture up to 90 tons of ice per day. At the same time a paint and repair shop was constructed, a necessary step because the company provides ice merchandisers to many customers. In this shop each ice chest is tested and any repairs are made to ensure they are working correctly. Buckeye Ice’s popularity has since continued to grow. It was sent to Canada during the great power outage and also to the Gulf area after Hurricane Katrina struck to aid the victims and volunteers.
Within a year of arriving in New Lexington Siemer Meat Market was opened. It has since developed into a prosperous venture and is a vital part of the community. The market is well known for its steaks and other fresh meats that can be cut to the customers’ specifications and purchased from the meat case at very reasonable prices. The market carries an extensive line of deli meats and cheeses and offers their very own “freezer deals” in just about any price range. Siemer Meat Market also has a very large selection of frozen bulk food products that many businesses and individuals buy directly from them.
Behind the retail market is the processing room and the salad room. In the processing room the boxed beef and pork are trimmed and cut to most popular portions. This is where the steaks are cut to the exact order. It is also where the Siemer ham, egg, and cranberry salads are made.
The employees of Siemer Meat Market are very creative in making various meat and cheese trays, vegetable trays, and cookie trays. They are also well-known for their ham loaves, cheese balls, meat loaves, meatballs, and chicken salad. All of these things are made fresh right in the market from fresh ingredients.
The sales staff know many of the customers personally and this personalized service is what makes Siemer Meat Market such an important part of the community.