At Usinger's, Some Things Never Change
Usinger "wurstmachers" are still located on Milwaukee's Old World Third Street, the site of the original store, where they adhere strictly to the original family recipes. Unchanged since 1880, these recipes are never altered in order to meet a competitive price. To the Usinger sausage makers, it is a matter of pride to maintain their tradition of excellence. Even among members of the meat industry, the superlative quality of Usinger's Sausage is recognized.
The Usinger Family success story is the classic American Dream. In the late 1870's a young German immigrant, Fred Usinger, arrived in Milwaukee with $400 in cash and his favorite sausage recipes, which he had learned as an apprentice "wurstmacher" (sausage maker) in Frankfurt. He had ambition, dreams of a better life and the willingness to work hard for it. He went to work for Mrs. Julia Gaertner, a widow who operated a small butcher shop on Third Street. Within a year or so, Usinger had bought out Mrs. Gaertner, married her niece Louise and moved into living quarters above the store.
The young couple worked sixteen to eighteen hours a day making and selling their sausage. Their best customers were saloonkeepers whose trade depended on the quality of their free lunches. As long as their customers relished Usinger's sausages, the saloons paid Usinger's premium price.
At the turn of the century, Milwaukee's German aristocracy did their shopping on Third Street, and the store soon became a popular stop. Before long, the Usinger's were shipping sausage as far away as New York. While business became so good that more help was needed, Fred Usinger kept the growth under control, so he could oversee each step of the sausage making process.
Founder Fred Usinger died in 1930. His legacy, however, lives on. The history of the company, which spans more than a century, shows that there has always been a Usinger to guide it. Today, fourth generation Usingers lead the firm confidently into the future, ever-mindful of their heritage of quality, which must be maintained. "America's Finest Sausage" is more than a slogan... it is an ideal... a family pledge that Usinger's will continue to make only the very best.