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If you’ve had the chance to source your meat from a local butcher instead of a chain grocery store, you’ve likely noticed a difference in the quality –and taste- of the meat. That same quality can be obtained from your own kitchen with the right tools. The Sausage Maker specializes in providing hunters, gatherers, anglers, farmers, and anyone looking to be more self-sufficient in the kitchen with the tools to make home food preparation possible.

What started as a hobby back in the 1970s turned into a catalog based business that has since transitioned into a successful ecommerce business. At the time it was hard to find quality sausage casings, cures, and spices at affordable prices. Over 40 years later, The Sausage Maker is still committed to helping people keep the family traditions and recipes alive in the kitchen.

Though they’re gearing up for their busy season, The Sausage Maker took time to chat with us about their successes, what sets them apart from big box retailers, and tips for those wanting to launch their own ecommerce business.

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Q: How did you get into the sausage making business?

A: After decades of making traditional, artisan sausages, charcuterie and cured meats, both at home and professionally, our founder Rytek Kutas started The Sausage Maker in 1976 as a mail order catalog supplying unique seasonings, sausage casings and meat cures. Company President Kris joined the company in 1985 with a background in design and soon The Sausage Maker was producing a variety of complementary equipment for meat processing. Smokehouses, Cutlery, Meat Grinders & Sausage Stuffers - right here in Buffalo, NY!

Both Rytek and Kris were born to Polish parents who instilled in them a love of making cured meats, charcuterie and sausages at home with family and friends and that passion for homemade food drives our growing product lines today. In addition to meat processing equipment and seasonings, we also offer a variety of top notch brewing equipment, fruit presses, fermenting crocks, cheese presses and more.

Q: How did you decide the Volusion platform was right for your business?

A: Our company started as a mail order catalog, but a growing number of our customers enjoy doing their business through the web. So, we scoured the web for the best platform with the intention of creating a user friendly website. It became clear that Volusion had the best design, shopping cart, customizability, API access and intuitive navigation. It was a long research process but worth the time and effort to become a Volusion customer.

Q: What sets The Sausage Maker apart from big box retailers?

A: While the playing field has changed quite a bit since 1976, what continues is our commitment to exceptional customer service. Customers can contact us, by email, phone, fax or even by mail (and yes, they do!). You’ll get to talk to a real person when you call. We can offer helpful insights, information and a personal level of service to our customers that many other companies cannot for the simple reason that we produce and manufacture so many of our seasoning blends and our product lines in house. All of our products are extensively tested by our staff, and that helps us to answer many difficult questions. Hands on experience helps. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find it for you!

Q: What tips do you have for someone wanting to start their own ecommerce business?

A: The world of ecommerce continues to grow and evolve rapidly. It’s never been easier to start a business, and reach a variety of customers around the world. Having said that, it is easy to get caught in the trap of competing for the lowest price, which always is a race to the bottom. Sell quality products and services and target the clientele who appreciate them.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of running your own business?

A: While designing products, engaging with our customers and expanding our product lines are some of the more enjoyable aspects of the job, owning a business also entails lots of paperwork and late nights at the office. The secret is to find a balance between the two.

Q: What tips would you give someone wanting to get into making their own sausage at home?

A:Great Question. Two Things: Don’t be intimidated and start small. When Rytek started making sausages with his family, they didn’t even own a meat grinder. They used knives to cut the meat into tiny pieces! We offer a variety of great kits that can help you to get started, and take the guess work out of how much seasonings and cure to use. Start with quality meats, seasonings and casings and the rest will come together. Our Great Sausage Recipes book takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. If possible, enlist your family members! It makes the process much more enjoyable and fun! vblog_sausagemaker2

Q: How does your business handle seasonality?

A: While we do cater to hunters in the spring and fall, Christmas shoppers in the winter and barbeque enthusiasts in the summer, our unique product line means we’re supplying equipment for a variety of tasks throughout the year including meat smoking, wine-making, grilling, canning, cheese making and fermenting. If it’s homemade, we probably sell the tools to help you make it!

For recipes and information on how to process your own meats, please visit the Sausage Maker’s blog!