MSU’s Product Center supports local sausage business in success
Spanitz Brothers’ Sausage was born 12 years ago, when Pete and his twin brother Paul began making sausages as a part-time hobby. Soon after this hobby developed, these sausages turned into a venture they knew they wanted to pursue full-time. After the passing of Paul in 2011, Pete spent the next few years preparing, and in 2015, left his job in order to put his time and passion into making Spanitz Brothers’ Sausage an obtainable and delicious product for both wholesale and retail with support from Michigan State University’s Product Center.
While attending the Product Center’s Made in Michigan Conference and Marketplace Trade Show in 2015, Pete met Joanne Davidhizar, a product development educator, who told him about the programs and support offered by MSU’s Product Center for businesses like his. Within a few weeks, Pete and Joanne were meeting via conference calls to discuss what was next for Spanitz Brothers’ Sausage.
“MSU provided great insight into packaging concerns, USDA label compliance issues, and introduced me to a number of other services provided by the state or local municipalities.” Pete said. “I was also impressed by the Product Center’s knowledge and advice on the meat industry.”
Spanitz Brothers’ Sausage offers lean cut pork, paired with a selection of spices and cheeses for a variety of appetizing flavors including Cheeseburger Sausage, Coney Sausage, Polish with Pepperjack, and the Hearty Poleman.
By growing his operation at Spanitz Brothers’ Sausage, Pete has been able to partner with farm-to-table supplier Farmlink, who provides food service customers with fresh and locally made products via an e-commerce system.
Pete plans to see his business continue to grow with the help of his sales representatives and by pursing new business opportunities. Pete also does his part by giving back to the community by volunteering at the local animal shelter and donating a portion of sales to a memorial scholarship fund in his brother Paul’s memory for Lincoln Park High School students, where Paul had been a teacher.
When it comes to opening and operating your own business, Pete advises to do your research on the marketplace, competitors, customer expectations, and future capital requirements to grow before jumping in with both feet. However, he also suggests that “if you are passionate about something, and you have some basic business understanding, find a mentor or expert willing to help guide you and take your time. Do not rush into anything.”