Four generations of satisfaction for Keystone Brand Meats

LIMA — The torch has been passed from generation to generation to generation. The industry has evolved, as business enterprises are prone to do. But the keystone principals upon which an Allen County agri-business was founded 60 years ago remain firmly in place.

Keystone Brand Meats, a meat-processing facility and retail/wholesale distributor of fresh and canned meat products, throughout the years put its focus on serving the community it calls home. Providing the best possible products and service is a business model that kept Keystone in business through good times and lean.

“I like to think that we’ve prospered because we are dedicated to quality; to serving the community and listening to our customers’ needs,” says fourth-generation company President Pete Dorley. “You have to evolve to meet the needs of your customers, and with our longevity I guess we’ve been able to do that.”

Keystone Meats has been located at its present site at 3585 Harding Highway since 1980, but its roots trace back to the early portion of the 20th century. Raymond Dorley, born in 1898, was a cattle buyer for the Lima Packing Company, which was located in the heart of the city. In 1953 Dorley, joined by his son, Ray Jr., and a handful of other investors to form The Pride of Lima meat-packing company, which in 1964 became the family-owned Keystone Brand Meats.

The company drew its name from a line of meats produced at the original Lima Packing Company.

As the company grew, the Dorley family did likewise. Dave Dorley — Raymond’s grandson — took over the re-branded Keystone family business in 1977. Dave’s son, Pete, has served as the company’s general manager since 2007 and is the fourth generation of the Dorley family to lead the corporation. Steve Conrad, Pete’s brother-in-law, is the current vice president.

While Keystone Brand Meats is a locally-grown company, so, too, is its principal product. Beef processed almost exclusively from cattle raised in Allen County fills the shelves of the store’s retail shop, as well as customers’ freezers.

“We buy local cattle and process the meat right here,” Pete Dorley said. “Anyone can walk through our door at any time and order a half or a quarter of beef, and they will have it, processed to their custom order, probably within a week or two. Locally-grown cattle is a hot marketing trend right now in the industry, but we’ve worked with local cattle suppliers for four generations,” Dorley said proudly.

Keystone, online at, also has a growing commercial and wholesale market. The company delivers a full line of beef and pork products to restaurants and grocery stores throughout Ohio and Indiana, and its canned meats, broth and soup bases are available at retailers across the U.S.

“We produce millions of cans of meat products, in small doses. Canned meats is now the biggest part of our business, in terms of volume,” Dorley said. “We’ve been able to grow our business nationally, and our products are on the shelves in Chief Markets, Walmart, Kroger and others.”

It should come as no surprise that the home-grown company’s largest commercial customer is also Lima-based.

“Kewpee is our biggest and most important customer. We deliver beef to Kewpee every day,” Dorley said.

With consumers in 2024 feeling the pinch of ever-growing grocery bills, the company CEO said Keystone Brand Meats has taken steps to keep costs in check.

“We feel the consumers’ pain; we go to the grocery store, too,” Dorley said. “That’s why we try real hard to be competitive and efficient with our operation. Our butcher shop has evolved to become more of a self-serve butcher shop. We have the same number of employees and the same meats, but it just looks a little different.”


Many businesses and organizations started right here in the Lima region, with the goal of making an impact in the region. This year’s Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those trailblazers. Read more stories at