On February 11, 1951, a union was made official through a Sunday wedding, establishing the young couple as now Mr. and Mrs. Ilyes. But, there was no time to celebrate with a honeymoon, as the following Friday was their first official day in business, operating their new stand at Penn Market.
The Ilyes family was no stranger to Penn Market, as Charles spent time working at his father’s stand before branching out on his own. In fact, all four Ilyes siblings eventually developed their own vendor space at Penn Market after learning the ropes from their father. Each sold their own variation of meats and vegetables.
At that time, farmer’s markets were a necessity, as grocery stores like we know them today were not in existence. Customers would make their way to market a couple times each week to purchase fresh eggs, meats, and dairy products. For Charles, he wanted to provide his customers with the freshest options, so he purchased a 26 acre farm where his chickens roamed and laid eggs, and he grew produce. Anything the Ilyes’ did not have on their farm, they’d cultivate from another farm, because keeping it local and fresh was, and still is, the Ilyes way.
25 years after Mr. and Mrs. Ilyes opened their stand, the not-so-newly newlyweds decided it was time for a honeymoon and off to Hawaii they went. The couple carried their hard working mentality throughout their lives, neither officially retiring from the stand. Mr. Ilyes worked until he passed away in 2000, and Mrs. Ilyes was still doing chores on the farm until she was 87 years young.
There is a positive, family feeling surrounding the Charles Ilyes Family, Inc stand at Penn Market, probably the same energy that has been around it since 1951. “Penn Market is a great melting place. Everyone gets along well” says John, Charles’s son, who now runs the Penn Market stand. It’s clear the team behind the counter takes pride in helping their customers while also catching up and sharing a laugh. “Our customers know we go above and beyond to pick out specific things like special cuts of meat for them. We spoil our customers and that’s what it’s all about”
Congratulations to Charles Ilyes Family, Inc on 70 years in business, and here’s to 70 more!