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Jack’s Markets in Lehigh are sold

By Staff | Feb 17, 2009

Chip Vealey, left, and his brother, Jason, will continue to manage the meat department at Jack's two markets. Their father, Jack Vealey, has sold the two stores in Lehigh, but three family members are staying on to work for the new owners. Photo by Mel Toadvine

Jack’s Markets, the two mini supermarkets in Lehigh Acres have been sold and the new owners say they want to continue the same “friendly service” that the two stores are so famous for.

Jack Vealey of Lehigh has sold the stores to a local group headed by Oqab Abuoqab.

“Nothing is changing about the stores. We’re continuing to keep the same employees and continue as the stores have been for a long time,” said Rock Abuqoude, manager of the store at 510 Joel Blvd. He said his friends call him AJ. He is related to one of the owners.

The sale price of the two stores was not disclosed. Vealey could not be reached for comment about the sale.

The sale of the stores occurred in January and customers have noticed that as of last week, the store could not accept food stamp customers.

Jennifer Glasser, right, manager of Jack's Market on Homestead Rd. is shown with new co-manager, Mike Okab. Photo by Mel toadvine

“It is only because of the license change,” said AJ Abuoqoude.

A note in the store at 25 Homestead Rd. notified customers on Jan. 31 that food stamps could not be accepted until a license had been changed to the new owners. The same thing happened for a shorter period as licenses were transferred for beer and wine. Before the transfer, signs appeared in the stores that the two items could not be sold.

“We’re just waiting for the county to transfer the license for food stamp customers,” said AJ Abuoqoude.

While Vealey may have sold the two stores, it doesn’t mean that some of his family members won’t be working there.

Jennifer Glasser, a daughter of Jack Vealey and his wife, Patty, remains a manager at the store in the Lehigh Town Centre at the corner of Homestead and Alabama roads. She is working with a co-manager, Mike Okab.

Rock "AJ" Abuoqoude is manager of the Joel Blvd. Jack's Market. Photo by Mel Toadvine

“She is the one who knows the operations of this store and I’m learning from her,” Okab said.

And Vealey’s two sons, Chip and Jason Vealey are continuing to work for both stores, cutting up and packaging meat as professional meat cutters.

Jack’s Markets are known for their fresh meats and also for the fact that they are competitive with supermarkets and other stores in Lehigh.

AJ Abuoqoude said prices would continue to be competitive and even lower than in larger markets in Lehigh.

He said he is moving from the Tampa area to be the manager of the Joel Blvd. location.

The Joel Blvd. manager stands outside, below the famous Jack's Market sign. Photo by Mel Toadvine

“I want to become involved in Lehigh. The people here are very friendly and I like that. We want to continue all the good things that Jack Vealey has done and we give him credit for making the two stores successful,” he said.

“When you say ‘hello’ to someone here, they answer back. It’s not like that in other places. This is a friendly community,” he said.

“We will continue Jack’s legacy to serve the community,” he said.

Chip Vealey said he and his brother cut up meat daily and wrap it and put it in the meat coolers at both stores. Nothing will change, they said.

The new owners say they will continue to also carry the best produce as has been the case over the years.

AJ Abujoqooude stands along side of the meat case at the Joel Blvd. Jack's Market. He said the meat cases will be expanded. Photo by Mel Toadvine

Jack’s Market is well-known in Lehigh. The first Jack’s Market opened in the Alabama and Homestead roads location back in 1966 when Lehigh was just a small community.

Glasser said Jack Vealey’s father, the late Samuel L. Vealey was known as “Jack” and that is how the store got its name.

Eventually as the town grew, a second Jack’s Market was opened on Joel Blvd. Both stores carry a wide assortment of beer and wines and are opened seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“If we need to expand those hours for our customers, then we will stay open longer. That decision can be made later,” said AJ Abuoqoude at the Joel Blvd. market.

The owners said they plan to purchase new refrigeration equipment for the stores in the near future. It was also announced that the meat and produce departments in both stores would be expanded when the new refrigeration units arrive.

“The name and the service won’t change. It’s Jack’s Market and always will be,” said Abuoqoude.

Vealey had been planning to eventually sell the two markets. Friends say he won’t know what to do since he spent most of his time at the stores.

He has been active in the community and especially in the Lehigh Acres Rotary Club where he has been active in the presentation of free dictionaries to local school students and other projects.