Area Business Set To Hand Out 100 Free Thanksgiving Feasts

On Friday from 4-6 p.m., Matthew Radecki and Christopher Fiegl will be handing out free “Thanksgiving Feasts” to 100 people from their business, “Hometown Rent to Own,” located at 203 Center St. in Salamanca. Photo by Deb Everts

SALAMANCA — With the upcoming season of giving and sharing in mind, “Hometown Rent to Own” in Salamanca will be handing out free “Thanksgiving Feasts” to 100 people on Friday from 4-6 p.m. at their business located at 203 Center St.

Upon arrival, people will have a table full of food items to choose from and be given a gift card to redeem at Sander’s Parkview where they will pick up their turkey. Co-owners Matthew Radecki and Christopher Fiegl said people are not required to be a customer of theirs to participate. Everyone is welcome.

“We’ve partnered with Sander’s Parkview and they’re huge in this. They’ve helped us out by selling us the food at cost,” Fiegl said. “We want to help as many people as we can. If we run out of food items, we’ll get more from Parkview to be sure people don’t go without.”

According to Radecki, anyone in the community and surrounding communities can come in for the free event, without obligation, and take food home to enjoy for Thanksgiving. If someone knows of an individual or family in need, they can pick up a dinner and take it to them. It could be for a friend, a neighbor or somebody else.

Radecki said there are many people in the area who might be in need and they want to make sure nobody is going without, especially this time of year. He said this is a difficult time with Christmas coming up because people are saving for that holiday and they also have other bills to pay. He said Thanksgiving dinner can get expensive and some people don’t have the extra funds.

“This event is not about us. It’s for the community,” Fiegel said. “It’s very touching when somebody comes to me and thanks me for what we are doing. It makes me know we are doing something good.”

For the second year, Radecki and Fiegl are sharing their good fortune of having a successful business. The two became co-owners of Hometown Rent to Own three years ago after becoming friends while they were working for a competitor. Radecki was Fiegl’s district supervisor when he was manager of a store in Salamanca.

Radecki said there are risks in any business, but they were given a great opportunity from their mentors, Randy and Laura Otander, of Ashville, who are responsible for helping them get their business going. He said if it weren’t for them, they wouldn’t be feeding the community, annually.

“Randy was in the rent-to-own business for 30-plus years. When he retired, he wanted to give someone the opportunity to continue something he started in this area,” he said. “It’s kind of like a ‘Pay It Forward.’ We’ve taken the business and turned it into what it is today and run it the way he would have.”

According to Radecki, during their first year in 2015, their business was featured in a national magazine, “RTOHQ: The Magazine,” the official voice of the rent-to-own industry.

“We just want to give back to the community that has done so much for us and made us an overnight success. From the time we got the keys to the door and filled up with inventory, we literally had a line of customers out the door,” he said. “Most businesses don’t show a profit for the first couple of years, but we knew our business was going to work in the first year. We had an aggressive goal and said we were going show a profit in four months. We broke a profit in our third month.”

Radecki said they have plans for a second store within the next year or two. They’re hoping the Thanksgiving event gets bigger and bigger every year. As they expand — whether it’s two stores, three or four — they want to give away 100 meals at every store location they’re at.

“At Hometown Rent to Own, we try to make houses into homes and keep families together by doing this every year,” he said. “As long as we’re here, we’ll do this event for years to come. When we expand to other territories, we’ll do it there as well.”

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Radecki moved to the area about 11 years ago with his wife, Christina, who is from Salamanca. The couple reside in Jamestown and have two children, Skyla and Vanessa. A native of Schenectady, Fiegl grew up in Hamburg and has lived in Little Valley for about six years with his wife, Heather, and two children, Dylan and Heidi.

To find out more, call 265-2080 or visit Hometown Rent to Own on Facebook.