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Local Meat Market Manager Frank Pelaez glad to be working back home in Gilchrist

Over the past month citizens of this county have realized how important a good grocery store is. In fact just a few weeks ago meat cases were rather bare in many of the large chain grocery stores. Local shoppers could stock up on meat at the local Hitchcock’s Trenton Market.
In fact the meat case has never looked better than it has for the past several months. Frank Pelaez of Bell brought over 20 years experience to the store when he began back in late February.  His skill as a Meat Manager has received high praise from local shoppers since he became the meat market manager.
Pelaez graduated from Bell High School back in 1992, but long before graduation he was working at Bell Supermarket, starting there at age 14 as a bag boy. Local butcher W.A. Arrington trained Pelaez when he was still in high school, which in turn gave him a career in the meat department of such stores as Publix and Lucky’s.
After working for Publix for many years Pelaez took a short break to open his own landscape and yard care business. Then like a lot of small businesses in 2008 he closed his business. He returned to Publix then moved on to Lucky’s in Orange Park. Then Lucky’s closed all their stores and Pelaez began hunting another job.
The Alvarez family, which purchased all the Hitchcock’s Markets with the exception of the Old Town store last April, was looking for a meat market manager.  So Pelaez quickly found a good job just a few miles from his home. He has high praises for the Alvarez family, saying they truly care about their employees and the communities where their stores are located.
Pelaez is very pleased to be working in his home county once again. “I’m home, I have made a full circle from Bell to Trenton, I love home.” He went on to say he likes the customers most of all, sharing recipes with them and making suggestions on how to cook their meat purchases. “People’s meals are important, I enjoy helping them have a good meal.”
As the Meat Market Manager, Pelaez has brought a new meat concept to the store. Ready to cook meats such as a stuffed chicken breast is made fresh in the meat market. The breast is rolled around a stuffing of  feta and spinach and then rolled in bread crumbs, all ready to go into the oven.  They are also making fresh pan sausage, regular or Italian sausage, as well as local made blueberry link sausage, which might be a first for the county.
A wide range of meal solutions are now featured in the store as well as the usual fresh meat items we have come to expect through the years. Pelaez is also proud of the seafood case which has fresh salmon, oysters and even tuna.
Over the past few weeks he has  come to realize just how important providing meat for the community is since the pandemic began. Pelaez said he greatly appreciates the community’s support and praises customers who remember to shop local. “We all need to help each other during this time,” said Pelaez.
Frank Pelaez has been married to Diane Moore for the past 24 years and they have three wonderful daughters, Rosie, Stella, and Ava. The Pelaez family lives in Bell and is proud to call Gilchrist County home.