LECOMPTON, Kan. – Linda and Gary Kroeger first opened their store in Lecompton – at the same location it is today – in 1984 as a grocery store, called Kroeger’s Country Store. Gary had worked his way through college working in meat markets but left the meat business to become a school administrator in Lawrence. At age 41, he quit his job in education and bought the country store, “because happiness is more important than making money,” he says. In 1988, they opened a satellite meat market, deli and grill location in a strip mall in Lawrence and called it Kroeger’s Country Meats.
After Gary suffered from two massive strokes in 1991, his daughter, Robin Kofford, increased her involvement in the store’s operations, learning how to make sausage and how to run the day-to-day operations. By September 1992, the Lawrence store closed, the meat side of the business was moved into the Lecompton grocery store location and the market became the new location of Kroeger’s Country Meats.
Mastering the sausage-making process was just one part of Kofford’s training to learn the family business – with the plan that she would one day take over.
For years, Kofford worked alongside her dad making sausage to sell in their meat market. Their homemade sausage was always one of the most popular products in the shop, and through the years Kofford developed new sausage formulations to keep customers coming back for more.
Six-and-a-half years ago, she tried something new by adding beer to the bratwurst recipe.
Read more about the sausage business at Kroeger’s Country Meats in MEAT+POULTRY’s sausage report in February.