Historic Detroit sausage maker, Kowalski Companies Inc. has meant “Kowality Since 1920” and as it celebrates its 95th anniversary it readies for a bright future with facility upgrades and market expansion, hiring increases, and re-illumination of iconic signage amplifying its long-held Michigan commitment. An estimated 2,000 dedicated employees over several generations have worked with the family-owned, Michigan-based food producer to reach this significant accomplishment.
Echoing the economic rebound of the Metro Detroit area, optimism abounds at Kowalski Companies, Inc. as it looks to the future by improving its production facilities with new equipment purchases and projecting to hire an estimated 200-plus employees, primarily in Michigan, over the next five years. The economic impact from the various upgrades within Michigan will exceed $2 million this year alone under the leadership of Kowalski’s fourth generation, Michael Kowalski as president and CEO, and his sister, Linda Kowalski Jacob as corporate secretary. With this growth, Kowalski Companies, Inc. plans to increase its distribution beyond its current areas throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky to include Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
“‘Kowality since 1920’ is more than a motto, much more,” says Michael Kowalski. “It’s a philosophy established by my great-grandfather, Zygmund Kowalski, that includes our commitment to the area and to our employees who enable us to achieve the high quality standards of our food products for our customers. We have had many offers to sell the facility in Hamtramck, mostly from out-of-state companies, but have declined such offers because we want to stay where the roots are and give employment opportunities to those who live in the area. Kowalski is very proud to be a Michigan Made product.”
As an acknowledgement of this noteworthy milestone and the company’s strong connection and commitment to the Metro Detroit and Hamtramck communities, Kowalski Companies, Inc. has refurbished and relit the neon-outlined sausage sign featuring the family name which has identified its Holbrook Avenue headquarters facility since the 1940s.
Although the Kowalski name is synonymous with natural casing hot dogs, and fresh and smoked sausage, acquisitions starting in 2002 and continuing today have brought Kowalski “Kowality” to several other product lines. Fifty-five varieties of Kowalski prepared food items are currently distributed throughout the Midwest via grocers and other food distribution dealers and to all 50 states through internet sales.
The Kowalski story started when Agnes and Zygmund Kowalski emigrated from Poland to America in search of a better life in the early 1900s.
The couple began their careers as owners of a small grocery store on Chene Street in Detroit, Michigan. Wanting to bring their favorite foods from the old country to their new home, they added a smokehouse to the store and production of Polish Kielbasa and other sausages began. Demand grew and the factory on Holbrook Avenue in Hamtramck was built in 1920.
The leadership of the Kowalski Sausage Company passed from generation to generation with Steve Kowalski, son of the founders, leading the company beginning in the 1950’s and his son Ronald taking over in the 1970’s, establishing Kowalski as one of Michigan’s finest meat processing enterprises. Today, the company’s leadership remains in the family with two of Ronald’s children, Michael and Linda. Together they manage and uphold the traditions of Kowalski “Kowality” established by their great grandparents while modernizing and growing its operations to expand its geographic footprint to other parts of the country from its Michigan base.
Recent expansion in 2015 includes the addition of Consumer Guild Foods, LLC. The Toledo, Ohio-based company produces a variety of salad dressings and sauces. In 2011, Kowalski Companies, Inc. acquired Hamtramck, Michigan-based Dudek Foods, which specializes in handmade Pierogi and Nalesniki. The following year, it purchased Tassos Epicurean Cuisine, based in Novi, Michigan, which produces a line of food items, primarily twice baked potatoes. Prior to these, in 2002, the company acquired Home Style Foods, which produces a high quality salad and dip product line.
Kowalski Companies, Inc. brands now include Dudek, Tassos, Amhurst Kitchens, Just Sweet ’Nuff Chicken’n’Rib Sauce, Our Famous Sweet’n’Spicy Chicken’n’Rib Sauce, Yiayia’s Famous Greek Salad Dressing, Consumer Guild Supreme, Home Style Foods and The Original Hunters Sausage.
For more information about Kowalski Companies, Inc., including retail stores that carry its products and featured recipes, please visit www.kowality.com.
Source: Kowalski Companies Inc.