Beginning in the 1980’s, Mark Ebels began making venison sausage for customers that brought in their harvested deer. At the time this was through Ebels General Store, which was a fourth-generation run, legacy family business (fifth generation family members now work at Ebels General Store). Mark had learned from master sausage maker, Harvey Reichert, the nuances of sausage making – not only the science, but the art. Customers began asking Mark and his wife Dawn in the early 1990’s, “Where else can we get buy these products?” Mark and Dawn have been prolific entrepreneurs over the years, so that started Mark and Dawn’s entrepreneurial wheels turning and the concept for Little Town Jerky Company was conceived.
With a step of faith and much prayer, Little Town Jerky Company (LTJ) became a reality as a fully certified, Federally inspected meat processing plant in 1994. Little Town Jerky was effectively the third business they started from the ground up. With great Jerky, snack sticks and a handful of other specialty meats, LTJ started selling to local grocery stores and convenience stores. Today the company has expanded and is honored to do business with companies such as Meijer, H.T. Hackney, Sysco Corporation, Spartannash, and many other fine independent retailers. Mark and Dawn have never let success compromise their number one priority – take care of the customer; regardless of the size of the customer.
Today Mark and Dawn’s two sons, Bob and Tom, and daughter, Laura, have been brought into the business. They are fifth generation family members working in the overall family businesses. Family members lean in to help whenever possible to help our team achieve their goals. The team at Little Town Jerky is dynamic, helping the company achieve GFSI certification in 2016. The company posts a diverse workforce of local folks, that come to work to do a great job.
Little Town Jerky Company offers a very diverse line of retail and foodservice products. Everything from snack sticks to cooked prime rib. “We make great products with only the highest quality ingredients,” Explains Mark Ebels. This simple philosophy coupled with another of Mark’s axioms, “challenges are really opportunities,” has guided Little Town Jerky Company to become the company it is today. Mark and Dawn, and now their children, have always believed in doing work with excellence for people and for the Lord. It has been a family prayer for God to make this business a blessing to the people that pass through. He has done just that with the amazing staff and growth in the businesses.