WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- An iconic butcher shop in West Springfield celebrated 52 years in business this week.

The founder, now 86 year's old, still going strong.

On this Friday before St. Patrick's Day, we go to Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, where family and Irish traditions are part of the fabric of their business.

Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, in business since 1967, is in the exact same spot on North Boulevard.

Ray Laflamme, a proud Frenchmen from Vermont, started the shop 52 years ago this week when he and his sweetheart, Jeanie, an Irish lassie, moved to West Springfield.

"You bet. My wife is Irish, full blooded," Laflamme said.

Hard to believe Ray is 86 years old.

"No, I'm 86, but I don't feel 86," Laflamme noted.

Laflamme's sons, Paul and John, now manage the family business.

"I do what I'm told and so we along good,"

However, Laflamme can be found most days, especially around St. Patrick's Day in the back, preparing what is a tradition: store-made corned beef.

These hands may have done this a few times.

"And when we pull this handle back, there's a brine that comes in that we make," Laflamme noted.

Laflamme injects the beef with brine as his sons work side-by-side, trimming and preparing the 4,000 pounds of corned beef they'll sell leading up to St. Patrick's Day - not the mention all the other Irish fare.

"It's a lot of fun. First of all, we really enjoy doing it. People come in when they want to buy corned beef, people celebrating their heritage," said Paul Laflamme.

John Laflamme added, "We're very proud of that, It's difficult to keep small stores open for any length of time and 52 years, we're awfully proud of that."

Third generations now work here. Employees are also considered family, as are customers - Irish or Irish for the day.

"I love the Irish people, really. We get along good together," Ray Laflamme explained.

The Laflamme sons are proud to carry on in their father's footsteps.

"It's very cool, honored honestly. It's been since he taught me the trade when I started eight, nine years old," Paul Laflamme said.

John Laflamme added, "I hope I have half the energy he has at 86 years old. He wears me out."

Sadly, Ray's wife, Jean, passed several years ago, but her family is proud to carry on her Irish family heritage.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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