Art Chermak and family member Merlyn Hoefner entered a partnership in 1950 and grew the brand rapidly through the 1960s under the guidance of Hoefner. The company established a new business channel by private labeling summer sausage for holiday gift packers in Wisconsin. The new business created a need for a Grant of USDA inspection which was approved in 1968 and allowed the distribution of its sausages nationwide.
The Wisconsin Meat Industry’s Hall of Fame added Art Chermak in 2001 for his participation in establishing the current US Dept. of Agriculture guidelines for shelf-stable summer sausage.
Today, Cher-Make sells products throughout North America, including Canada and Mexico, under its own name, as well as under numerous private label names. Art’s son, Tom Chermak, Merlyn’s son, Chuck Hoefner, and Merlyn’s son-in-law, Bill Becker, lead the company and continue in the same traditions that brought their families much success.
“Ninety years in business – it’s quite an accomplishment. For a company to have that kind of longevity, with three generations of family running the operation, is pretty rare these days,” said Tom Chermak, president of Cher-Make. “I believe our success is due to our refusal to comprise on quality standards, ingredients and processes that make great tasting sausage. These values are what our fathers have passed along to us, which we still honor today.”
Chermak added, “We’d like to thank the many families, employees and customers that have grown alongside us – working together and enjoying our products for all these years. You all are a big part of our success. We will continue to commit ourselves to meeting your needs with handmade products that are authentic, great tasting, and support a healthy lifestyle, but never sacrifice quality. With our commitment to our product and our people, we can only go up from here.”
Cher-Make still produces hot dogs, bratwurst, summer sausage, ring bologna, chicken sausage and smoked sausage for the branded and private-label industries at the company’s plant at 2915 Calumet Ave. in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.