Springers bring their specialty meats to New London
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Ray Springer thinks he is on to something.
“We’re not a locker and we’re not a grocery store,” he said in the backroom of his new business — Ray’s Specialty Meats — in New London. “We are a fresh meat operation but also a sausage plant. We are all about sausage and we have the capacity to do 300 varieties of meat here.”
Springer, along with co-owners — his wife Cindy and step-son Nick Keller — launched the new operation in the former Finish Line Restaurant building on New London’s east side in mid-July.
But prior to launch, the family, along with many friends and family members, completely renovated what was a restaurant into a meat processing business. “Praise the Lord for this venture, it has been a blessing from the Lord. A lot of friends and family have donated hours to help us with this renovation.
Springer has been a meat cutter or meat department manager for 39 years, mainly in Wisconsin. He has honed his trade in IGAs, Piggly Wigglys, Pick N Saves and Century Foods.
He and his wife, on the encouragement of family members (Cindy has a lot of kin in the area) headed west during the summer of 2012, settling in Mt. Pleasant in August of 2012. Upon arrival, Springer worked at Mt. Pleasant’s Hy-Vee Food Store before embarking on his own business.
The intent when relocating was to open a fresh meat business, he said. “It was our intention all along to start this business. For a long time, we had family tell us there was a need for a fresh-meat business with meat cut behind the counter in this area.”
Springer also said he did not like what he was seeing at store meat counters. “I saw meat being distorted. The meat they were selling still had a lot of water weight.
“I am bringing natural products to the meat case,” he continued. The sausage products have less salt and preservatives and are much leaner by design.”
The store’s meat is cut daily and displayed in the 36-foot, five decker fresh meat cases. Ray’s boasts a large selection of fresh meats, soup bones, sandwich spread, pet bones, seafood, Wisconsin cheese, rope sausage, ground pork, breakfast and Italian sausage.
In addition, Ray’s hast 16 varieties of brats (made onsite); four varieties of old-fashion ring bologna; five different kinds of summer sausage, beef and turkey smoked sticks; and two types of turkey summer sausage.
Springer’s inventory also includes all the normal cuts of beef and pork, Amish jams and jellies, peach and apple pumpkin butter, salsas and candies. Fresh oysters will be sold on a seasonal basis.
He hopes to land some restaurant accounts in the near future and said he will offer custom meat and deer processing as soon as he has attained the licenses required.
The store will grow as needed with considerable floor space still available for expansion. He said business has been cut. “We’re already drawing from the area.”
Ray’s Specialty Meats, located at 704 E. Main St. is open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday. Orders may also be made by calling 219-367-0200.
“I feel Johnsonville and Hillshire started somewhere, so I might as well, too,” he concluded.