Family-owned butcher shop refuses to sell to developers

Jeremy Schaller's grandfather Ferdinand opened a butcher shop in the same space, in the same building, in the same Yorkville section of the Upper East Side where on Thursday Jeremy stood behind a chest-high display case full of meat and asked a customer: "Hungarian salami? How much would you like?"

When Ferdinand opened Schaller and Weber in 1937 with a business partner he would buy out soon after, four other German-style butcher shops slung Bratworst, Knackwurst and cold cuts within a one-block radius.

"Now, we’re the only shop in town," Jeremy said.

And Jeremy, who learned this trade working in this shop beside his father and grandfather, is now the only Schaller in the shop.

"It was pretty much my life’s destiny," he said.

In recent years, a number of callers have attempted to buy that destiny, offering as much as $24 million to acquire the Schaller and Weber building Jeremy's family's owned for more than eight decades.

"It’s not my place to say yes to something like that," Jeremy said. "My grandfather entrusted me with the business and I’m hopefully going to entrust it to my kids someday, so it’s part of the torch I’m passing to the next generation."

Jeremy's seven-month-old song, Wolfgang, cannot yet wield a filet knife, but someday Jeremy hoped to teach him.

"We’ll start him off at an early age," he said.

Three years ago, Schaller and Weber transformed a garbage room next door into a sausage and beer bar. "And now," Jeremy said, "It's a business that's almost turning over $1 million a year."

For this shop's nearly full-century of success, Jeremy credits both his employees ("They know everyone’s name in the neighborhood. They know what they like. They can basically pack their bags before they’re told what they want.”) and his customers. "I have regulars who say their grandparents brought them in when they were five years old and now they’re in their 70s," Jeremy said.

"Hasn’t changed in 40 years," a customer named Michael told FOX 5 News.

For four decades Michael's bought his deli meats from Schaller and Weber.

"They know me. I know them," he said.

Michael welcomed the store's more recent additions of German beers and other imported goods.

"I gotta come here and I will continue to come here," Michael said.

After 82 years, the display cases look the same. Hanging meats still adorn every cubic inch of unused space.

A new subway brings new customers to this old building now worth a lot more money. And a Schaller still roams behind the counters, filling orders for meats he carved, ground or cured himself.

"That’s going to be 2/3 of a pound," he told that customer looking for Hungarian salami.