History | Meat Processing 101 | Meat Processing 101 Illustrated | The Meat Business
March 3, 1938 was the first day of business for "Kirchberger Sausage," started by Hans Kirchberger and his brother-in law Theo Johanni. Both emigrated to the U.S. from Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany, and they brought with them recipes that are still used today. Pride in being a master sausage maker allowed Hans to use his family name as the original name of the business. The store was located on the southeast corner of Memphis Avenue and West 45th Street at 4425 Memphis Avenue. Sausage was manufactured in the basement and carried outside to the smokehouse. The first floor of the red brick building was the store where leberwurst sold for only 35 cents per pound!
In September of 1962, Hans moved the business to its present location, 4501 Memphis Avenue. The store, the manufacturing facilities and the smokehouses are now all located in one building.
As retirement approached, Hans offered the store to Norm Heinle, a longtime employee. Hans and his wife, Elly, had two children but neither was interested in continuing the family business. So, in October 1974, Norm began his proprietorship. Hans died in December 1988 and Elly followed soon after in June 1990.
Norm began to work for Hans when he was just 13 years old, and was responsible for cutting the grass and washing pots and pans. As his responsibilities increased though the years, Norm mastered the art of sausage-making.
Norm in his glory!
Though the passing of the years made it necessary to change the name of the business to The Sausage Shoppe (in 1979), Norm and his wife, Carol, keep the focus of the business on the products produced with Hans’ recipes.
However, striving to meat the needs of consumers changing eating habits has mandated that the Heinles introduce new products into the offerings at The Sausage Shoppe. Working with dietitians and attending trade seminars has a big impact on new recipes and allows today's sausage and lunch meat products to be much leaner and more nutritious than those of the past.
After 31 years at the present location, the store was extensively renovated in 1993.
Norm and Carol both grew up in Old Brooklyn and attended St. Thomas More school. They met at the church carnival one summer, were married there and have been married for 49 years. They live in Brunswick.
Their oldest son, Al, is the store manager. He is responsible for hiring and scheduling employees, and for ordering items for the retail store. He lives with his family in Brunswick.
Their middle son, Russ, met his wife while both were working at the Administrative Offices of the Cleveland Metroparks on Fulton Road. They reside with their daughter in Old Brooklyn in the house Norm grew up in.
Their daughter, Renee, is the Marketing Director. Her main responsibilities include designing newspaper ads and store printouts and writing news releases. Her husband Vinnie is the on-call IT Specialist for the company. Together they update the web site and run the facebook page. They live in Old Brooklyn in the house Carol grew up in. Their children attend OBCS, where Renee is the Chair of the PTT Board. Renee also leads a Scout Troop at Mary Queen of Peace.
Their youngest son, Dennis, also serves as a computer specialist for the company. He helps select the hardware and software the company uses and keeps the company up on tech trends. He lives with his family in the greater St. Louis area.
Updated January 2017.
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