When Brian Davy brought the M&M Meats chain to London 25 years ago, he figured it was a safe bet.
Davy knew every grocery store had a freezer aisle but not one with the quality meat and other foods that he had sampled at one of the chain's original stores in Cambridge.
"The quality and consistency of the product is imperative. People can cheat so much in the food business," said Davy. Davy said M&M founder Max Voisin started with a simple concept -- consistent restaurant-quality food like well-aged steaks at retail prices.
The suppliers were carefully chosen and many have grown successful along with M&M. He said Voisin was also careful in choosing his franchise partners.
"We had the right people in from the beginning," said Davy.
M&M now has spread across Canada with 467 stores. Next month the chain is making its first foray into the United States by opening four corporate stores in Madison, Wisconsin. The chain recently launched a smaller urban store concept in the Toronto market called M&M Uptown.
Davy arrived from England in 1970 at 27 to live with an uncle and experience life in Canada.
He was working as an agent for six furniture companies when he was introduced to Voisin, who had founded the M&M chain in Kitchener in 1980. Voisin told him he wanted to expand M&M to London and they sealed the deal in true '80s fashion.
"We met for lunch. We played a game a Pac-Man and he beat me."
Davy opened four more M&M stores in London in the next six years but he still held on to his furniture job until 1989 when he decided to go full time with M&M.
There are now eight M&M outlets in London. Davy has sold off most his stores in recent years but still owns the stores in Byron and Masonville.
The London stores are celebrating the 25th anniversary with
special promotional sales starting March 24.