Rudy Miller and Nathan Crane do things the old-fashioned way at Cionko's Meat Market in Granite City.
They grind their own hamburger, slice their own bacon, blend their own sausage and brats, roast their own Italian beef, bake their own hams and butcher their own chicken, pork and beef.
"If someone wants a porterhouse steak this thick, we cut it with the saw right in front of them," said Rudy, 48. "You can't get that at the supermarket."
The store's big draw is meat, but it also sells groceries.
Geoffrey Ahring, 61, has been shopping at Cionko's (pronounced CHUNK-ohs) for more than 40 years.
"It's a good place to get quality meat, but it's kind of a personal thing," he said. "You walk in here, and they know your name."
On a recent Saturday, Geoffrey bought bacon, hard salami and Land 'O Lakes yellow American cheese, which his daughter called "Cionko cheese" as a girl.
Next in line was Tom Cholevik, 61. He ordered 60 pounds of ground beef.
"We get meat here for our taco sales at (St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church) and our barbecues at home," he said.
Romanian immigrant Louis Cionko opened the corner store in the late 1920s. It was connected to his family's home, which still provides office and storage space.
Louis' son, John, hired Rudy when he was 16. Nathan got a job four years later, after John Jr. had taken over.
"My dad (Gary Crane) was a schoolteacher and a meat cutter," said Nathan, 46. "He actually worked here for a brief period in the 1960s."
Nathan recently was inducted into the Granite City High School Sports Hall of Fame with his soccer teammates, who won the state championship in 1982.
Rudy and Nathan bought Cionko's from John Jr. 10 years ago. Nathan's wife, Silynthia, serves as bookkeeper. Rudy's daughters, Jackie and Katie, are cashiers.
"It's awesome because I have a 10-month-old child, and I go to school full-time (at Southwestern Illinois College), and they work around my schedule," said Katie, 24.
The gang is rounded out by manager Tim Tague, meat cutters Dusty Powell and Jacob Edwards and several other employees.
The men behind the counter wear white aprons and knife holsters. Many have battle scars, mostly tips gone from fingers, but they seem to have fun on the job.
"I enjoy the customers, and it's just a good, fast-paced job," said Tim, 38. "It's a friendly environment. There's a lot of 'cutting up.'"
Cionko's still follows its decades-old tradition of giving "little smokies" (sausages) to children who come in with their parents.
The store gets particularly busy around Thanksgiving and Christmas, selling cooked and uncooked turkeys, prime rib, hams and Italian beef.
"All holidays are busy," Rudy said. "Everybody likes to have family gatherings and cook at home."
At a glance
What: Cionko's Meat Market
Where: 2901 Madison Ave. in Granite City
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
Information: Call 618-451-5200