1920: The beginning.
My Great Grandfather started Victory Sausage Co. Why Victory? Because the phone number was Victory 2-5330 or Vi 2-5330. At this time, area codes didn't exist - for long distance calls you dialed the operator. Victory started as a small butcher shop in Central Wisconsin where we specialized in smoked sausages and hams. Over the next several years the demand for our products increased and Chicago was the perfect opportunity to begin expansion.
1932: The transition
My Great Grandfather found a small factory on Chicago's south side at Ashland and 35th. Great Grandpa was excited about the move and he aggressively pursued new sales. Two months into the new transition, we signed a manufacturing agreement with the Army.
1935: The luck of the draw
The Army business was extremely demanding but Great Grandpa was not going to pass up the opportunity to grow the business. We acquired the Real Sausage Company which was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. We changed the name to Real Packing Company and incorporated in 1938.
1937: The 2nd generation
Great Grandpa decided it was time to bring his son onto the business. My Grandfather, Ted Makowski, came to work in 1937 and by 1946 was running the company. Ted continued to manufacture for the army, but shortly after the transition of ownership, the war ended and the need for canned meats diminished.
1952: The 3rd generation
My Father (Jerry Makowski) and Uncle (Louis Makowski) came to work for the business in 1952. At this time “Deli Meats”, were the strongest volume product in the US. Real was manufacturing deli meats for White Hen and K-mart.
1972: Back to the original
By 1972, the company was predominately producing sausage again. My Father wanted to change the name back to 'Real Sausage Company'. A “Packing Company” is classified as a fresh meat company and Real was a sausage company. The USDA was concerned that the term 'REAL' would cause the consumer some confusion because it was both a name and a description. Eventually we successfully convinced USDA that the “Real Sausage Company” was legitimate and the right name for the company.
1985: Change of ownership
My Grandfather retired in 1985 promoting my Father and Uncle as the new owners.
2002: The 4th Generation
I purchased the business from my Father and Uncle in 2002. I renamed the company Makowski’s Real Sausage and was successfully recognized as a woman owned business in Chicago. It's hard to believe how fast time flies when you're having fun.
Incidentally, our phone number is still Victory 2-5330, now translated 842-5330 (and don't forget to add the 312 area code).