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Staple Hungarian deli on The Main closing for good after 56 years in business

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After 56 years on The Main, Charcuterie Fairmount closed its doors for good Saturday after a fire in the old smoker meant the shop needed to upgrade or shut down, owners say.

“It’s very hard,” said owner Joseph Prepszl, who opened the store after he moved to Canada from Herend, Hungary when he was 21. On the day Fairmount closed, he was 86.

“It’s not going to be easy to accept it,” he said.

The family wasn’t planning on closing until a fire broke out on Monday, Oct. 17. Co-owner Gregory Ellerton got the call after his shift that day, he said.

“I was driving home,” said Ellerton, Prepszl’s son-in-law. “That's when the police called me to come back, and said that there was a fire in the store.”

The flames were contained inside the metal smoker, and firefighters say the small blaze was brought under control in less than an hour. Ellerton said he was relieved to learn nobody was hurt. 

"Thank god. That's all I can say," he said. 

Days later, he says, they received a letter from authorities saying that the smoker wasn’t up to code, and that they would need to stop using it until they could get a new one.

But Ellerton said putting a replacement smoker in would cost more than $70,000 – an out-of-reach price.

Instead, they’re going with the other option: sell the remaining stock. “And then, basically, that'll be it,” said Ellerton.

Fairmount Charcuterie had a loyal customer base, and some of their customers had been going to the shop for decades. When news spread that they would have to close, for some, it was difficult to say goodbye.

Prepszl’s daughter, Linda Ellerton, grew up at the deli. She admitted to CTV, laughingly, that she only started to enjoy the smoked meat as a young adult.

“Now I love it,” she said, adding her dad’s shop has been a source of family pride. “My father’s sausages, they’re the best.”

Linda and Gregory recounted one customer’s tearful goodbye after 50 years of shopping at Fairmount.

“After she left, my father had tears in his eyes,” said Linda. “He told me, and I know, it’s bittersweet.”

While he’s looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, “I hear it in his voice,” she continued. “It’s going to be emotional for him.”

“It was nice. I loved it. I love to be in the store,” said the founder. 

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