A steady stream of trade workers clomp into Shiretown Meats every day, beginning about 11 a.m. But nobody stays for long. They order a sub sandwich, and about 90 seconds later a Katama (roast beef and bacon topped with coleslaw), or a Mediterranean (lamb meatballs with Greek yogurt dill sauce). Even a routine hot pastrami, appears like magic through a small pass window behind the meat counter.

“Ask the guys that deliver bread,” said Shiretown Meats proprietor David Vaughan said. “We sell more subs than anybody on this Island. It takes a minute or two to get them out. In the summer time we average 200 to 300 subs, every single day. No problem.”

Lightning fast service for trade workers on a short lunch break is just one of the ways Mr. Vaughan has reinvented his business during his 33 years behind the meat counter. He opened his store in 1982. Except for the price of chuck roast, he does business now just about the same way he did then.

Two generations behind the cleaver, David and Daniel Vaughan. — Mark Lovewell

“When you first start out you’re slow, so we invented a few things,” Mr. Vaughan said one recent afternoon, sitting at a new picnic table outside his Upper Main street, Edgartown store. “We used to sell this ‘meat for a week package.’ It was $29.99. It was meat enough for a family of five for about a week. You see how prices have changed.”

Mr. Vaughan said he began in the meat business at the age of 14, and his only formal education in the trade was enrollment in a meat-cutting school in Toledo, Ohio. In the small world department, he was in the same meat cutting class as Bob Pacheco, the longtime butcher and owner of Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs. When he returned to the Island, he found himself the manager of the meat department for the A&P grocery store, at the age of 19.

After a couple of years at the store, following a succession of 60-hour weeks, he mentioned to his wife Ann that he was thinking about going into business for himself. She promptly signed herself up for a local seminar to find out if that was possible. She came home each day with a notebook full of business tips. At the end of the seminar, Mr. Vaughan said, she asked him, “What are you waiting for?”

“So I quit working for the A&P, and went out on my own,” Mr. Vaughan said. “Of course it’s pretty scary when you’ve got three little kids.” He said he never allows himself to “mud wrestle” with competitors. “You’ve always got to be good at what you do, and carry the very best, and people will seek you out.”

Mr. Vaughan’s customers have remained loyal over decades, drawn by an occasional wisecrack and a personal touch which includes help with planning large parties, and detailed instructions on how to cook meat. Over the years he has refined his cooking advice to a few simple maxims.

“Preheat your oven,” he said. “Put the meat in at room temperature. Never put a cold roast in the oven. I usually cook at high heat for about 15 minutes, then turn it down. The most important thing is when it comes out, keep the knife away from everything. You always have those guys that want to take a little sliver off. They ruin the roast or steak every time. You cut into it to see how it is, you’re wrecking it. You’ve got to let things rest when they come out of the oven.”

He has also developed his own specialties over the years, including house made sausages and a variety of marinated cuts of meat ready for the grill.

“We make a lemon herb chicken that people have been trying to get that recipe out of me for years, and we don’t give it out,” he said. “We made the pinwheel, that’s kind of a signature steak. That’s a sirloin tip stuffed with pecorino romano (cheese), garlic, cracked pepper and parsley. That’s really good on the grill.”

David and Ann Vaughan have been married for 45 years. He said she and his three children have always been behind him, and that’s why the business has worked. His son Daniel will eventually take over the business.

“He’s here long before me, at 6 a.m., every day,” Mr. Vaughan said. “He’s a good worker.” Daniel also apparently inherited the reinvention gene, recently introducing breakfast sandwiches to Shiretown Meats, and keeping in touch with customers through a variety of social media.

Facebook and Instagram aside, Mr. Vaughan’s business philosophy remains rooted in a simpler time. “People are into fads,” he said. “Every year there’s something. All of a sudden it’s grass-fed this, grass-fed that. I’ve been selling grass-fed burger since I’ve been in business. It has a great flavor. But in my opinion, that’s about all it’s good for. I wouldn’t want to sell it to you as a steak. There’s no marbling to it. It’s not the tenderest thing in the world. Everybody is always asking, how much are you up percentage wise over this, or how much are you up over that. I don’t know. I order meat. When I sell it, I get some more. If you start worrying about every little percentage, or we didn’t do business because it rained, or we didn’t do business because the wind was blowing. You can’t think about that. You’ve just got to come to work and do business every day. If you’re not cutting meat, grab a sponge and clean something.”

Mr. Vaughan is 68, and except for the month of February, when he closes up shop for a ski vacation or a cruise with his wife, he is on the job six days a week in the off-season, and seven days a week for four busy months in the summer. He offers no hint on a retirement date, but notes construction workers have just completed a ramp leading to the front door of Shiretown Meats, as part of a general exterior renovation.

“Maybe that’s why they’re putting this ramp in, so they can push me up the ramp,” he said with a smile.