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Schmidt's Meat Market started in 1947 when Gerhardt and Esther Schmidt purchased a small, one-man custom butcher shop in Nicollet, Minnesota. Gerhardt had previously worked in a meat market and locker plant in Arlington, Minnesota giving him the experience to provide custom processing for the area farmers. At that time, the building was comprised of a smokehouse, production area, a 12-foot meat counter and the apartment where Gerhardt and Esther lived and raised their two sons. While their primary focus was custom processing, they steadily grew the retail business. They had one employee.

In November 1975, Gerhardt and Esther’s sons, Gary and Bruce, purchased the business. Gary assumed handling of the accounting and marketing side of the business, Bruce served as the general manager overseeing the day-to-day sausage and smokehouse operations. Their spouses, Geri and Betty, also joined the staff at this time handling the retail aspect of the meat market.

In 1977 they expanded their freezer space to accommodate the custom processing. In 1984, after acquiring neighboring property, a new building was constructed adding 3,000 square feet. The new facility was used for expanding the retail and production areas. The new floor plan separated the two areas with glass giving customers the ability to watch the cutting, packaging and sausage production.

In 1990 a new wood-fired smokehouse was added to accommodate the volume of sausage that was being produced, while an electric smokehouse was installed in order to produce new sausage products. An adjacent building was purchased in 1995 and subsequently used for a new cooler and in 2003 a retail expansion. This new development doubled the retail space that now holds 56 feet of full service counters and 75 feet of self-service cases.

From left: Betty, Bruce, Esther, Ryan,
Gerhardt, Gary and Geri

In 2005, Gary sold his portion of the business to his son, Ryan, making him the 3rd generation owner. The meat market currently has a staff of approximately 50 full-time and part-time employees.

Our market has a traditional German-style theme - from the Willkommen sign above the door to the aroma of the smokehouse. We continue to use the old style of whole pieces of wood as our source of heat and smoke. This process is what sets us apart from other meat markets and gives our products their unforgettable flavor. Some of Gerhardt’s original recipes are still used, while Bruce has developed and added many new items to our retail. Our German-style summer sausage remains our specialty.

Schmidt's Meat Market continues to be Southern Minnesota’s most complete meat center carrying a full line of fresh meats, a deli second to none and superior customer service.