ELMWOOD, Wis. -- Driving in Elmwood, you’re bound to drive by Sailer’s Meats.
The family-owned store has been in the small town since 1923, but its reach extends far beyond the town border.
Sailer’s Meats has earned national and international acclaim for its products with several awards over the years. Recently the group received six awards in the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Product Auction at the Wisconsin State Fair, including first reserve in flavored bacon, bone-in ham, dried or smoked beef and specialty cooked bratwurst.
Sailer’s was also recognized in the nationwide American Cured Meat Championships held in Alabama by the American Association of Meat Processors. There Elmwood’s Sailer’s won grand champion for heavyweight bacon as well as eight other top four placements in a competition between 51 competitors with a total of 484 products.
Sailer’s has competed internationally, with judges from Germany flying in to assess the entered competitors. In a recent international competition, Sailer’s had only one product that did not place out of the 25 it entered.
Owner Jake Sailer said it’s humbling to see the products that his great-grandfather made, the ones he still makes today, win awards.
“It puts Elmwood on a nice spot in the map,” Sailer said. “I’m proud of what we’ve got, proud of what we do,” he said.
Sailer’s great-grandfather started the business in 1923. It was passed down through the generations until Jake Sailer and his dad took over in 1995. Jake Sailer has been at the helm of it ever since . In that time the business has grown, and continues to do so.
“It’s grown out of control, truthfully,” Sailer said.
The current facility off Winter Avenue was built 13 years ago. At the time, Sailer said everyone wanted them to go to a different town, but their heritage in this town of fewer than 900 residents kept them here.
He acknowledges that the facility isn’t meeting the needs now. Sailer’s has recently become Whole Foods-accepted, and will be making salami for the chain. It will also be making snack sticks for Cabella’s and Bass Pro Shop.
“It’ll be different,” Sailer said. “It’ll be big."
Sailer said his biggest drive to keep going with the company is his two children, Morgan and Sam.
The two already help here and there in the business, and have their white coats. The operation is truly a family business, with Sailer and his wife working side by side.
“We like to keep it as a family business, which is a business family,” he said.
Sailer wants his employees to feel like family too, and be happy to work there.
“We want people to come work for us and be proud of what they do,” he said.
Sailer attributes success to passion. He likes what he does, making people happy with good products.
“It’s just like anything else, it’s the passion you have,” he said. “No matter what you want to do, if you have a passion for something you’re not going to stop until you have it figured out.”