By Terry Tinkess
AgriNews Staff Writer
In some ways, you could say that Henderson Abattoir is going back to the future, and the new owners couldn’t be happier.
The business, which is located at 13200 Mackenzie Road, south of Chesterville has undergone a couple of changes in ownership in the past couple of years. Tom Henderson founded the business in 1981 as a storefront operation, but when he decided to retire, he sold it to a group that included Ottawa Valley Meats, Hog Haven, and Gillette Farms in May of 2021.
It was recently purchased outright by Gillette Farms Inc. (the Patenaude family). Éric Patenaude of Gillette Farms says the opportunity presented itself, and they took advantage of it.
“A year and a half ago it started off with three partners,” says Patenaude. “One of them left a couple months in, due to another opportunity presenting itself, and we bought out the other partner just a couple weeks ago.
“We decided to move ahead without partners as we had a clear vision of how we wanted to operate and continue the business, which was to remain local. Our other partners were more ambitious and decided to follow other ventures.”
Gillette Farms’ main interest was always in keeping things local. “In the end, I think we accomplished what we set out to do when Gillette Farms got into this venture, which was to keep Henderson Abattoir a place for local farmers to go to,” says Patenaude. “This place is truly a gem for all beef, pork, and lamb producers. The staff in place is the best in the business and Jim Henderson, who has been a part of the business for over 30 years, is now our general manager. He has built himself a reputation for his cutting skills that keeps customers coming back.”
According to Patenaude, customers should expect to see things go back to more how they were before the change in ownership in 2021. “As far as the future of the business you can expect things to go back to what they were when Tom Henderson was owner: working for the local community first and foremost,” says Patenaude. “We will also be offering a storefront where customers can pick up boxes of meat that fit every budget. We will also be making our own in-house sausages and keep offering smoking services.”
Henderson Abattoir are truly excited for what lies ahead. Currently, bookings are available. You can call 613-448-3471 to book your spot.