Kent’s Meats & Groceries and Kathy’s Deli
By Christy Milan
Food, Friends & Family
Story by Christy Milan
Photos by Jen Womack
THE FRIENDLY SMILES radiate across the room and welcome you like sentiments on a welcome mat, and the aromas greeting you remind you of home cooking at its best.
Kent’s Meats & Groceries and Kathy’s Deli are North State icons. Kent and Kathy Pfrimmer both grew up in Cottonwood and were introduced during high school by Kathy’s best friend. Then 57 years later, they have placed their family’s roots deep into the community, and they have found a recipe for success.
Kent started his career at age 12, working for his father at Rose’s Market in Cottonwood. He realized his passion was in the meat department and choice meats. In 1976, they started a custom meat plant in the back of what was Ben’s Market. Later in 1978, the Pfrimmers purchased Ben’s Market and re-named it Kent’s Meats & Groceries. Kathy’s Deli emerged three years later after Kathy discovered the sandwiches they bought from another company were “terrible.” Kathy and her mother began making around 10 sandwiches and
a few salads daily. That led to a full-service catering business. They cater weddings and special events, and supply sandwiches and salads for local businesses. “We make approximately 300-plus sandwiches daily and around 800 lbs. of salad a week.” says Kathy. They also offer homemade dinners, dips, sauces, soups and a mixture of other high-quality deli foods. “I am so proud of my girls and what a nice job we do,” Kathy says.
Staff appreciate Kathy’s sense of humor and mentorship. “I love waking up to come to work,” says Karen Jones, an employee of about 30 years. “It not only has the best food, but it is like working with family. And Kent is the most generous, kind-hearted man.”
Of course, life has not always been full of joys. The Pfrimmers have had sorrow touch their lives, as well. “The saddest day of our lives was the day we lost our son Todd,” Kathy says. “He was the ambassador of the store, but he would have wanted us to carry on.” Todd greeted customers with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and on Friday nights, Todd fired up the grill with the same enthusiasm as his father.
The assortment of imported and local cheese, selection of local wines and deli fresh items are worth the stop alone. Award-winning smoked hams, bacon and sausage are just a few of the items prepared in their own smokehouses. The sausage makers, Jeff Marnel and their grandson, Tad Pfrimmer, join the efforts to prepare the best quality for their customers. “We feel very fortunate to have been here this long,” Kathy says. “It’s all due to the loyal support of our customers. Our favorite part of this business is serving our customers the finest products available.”
One product they carry has a humorous twist. In 2013, a man wearing pantyhose over his head attempted to throw a rock through the store window. The video went viral and eventually a wine was born with the comical name “Bumbling Burglar.”
The holiday season brings a bustling business, as customers order their favorite meats and holiday dinners. The enthusiasm bubbles into their personal lives, as well – Kathy is known for her Christmas light display at her home in Cottonwood.
The Pfrimmers also credit their loyal, hard-working employees for their success – and they must be doing something right, as some employees have stayed 20, 30 and even close to 40 years. The quality, cleanliness and friendliness along with the tasty food have been this family’s recipe for success. •
Kent’s Meats & Groceries • Kathy’s Deli
8080 Airport Road, Redding • (530) 365-4322
Open daily, 6 am to 10 pm