On Monday, a family owned and operated gourmet sausage and deli product manufacturer will open for business.
Brothers Eric and Kenneth Mayer, the owners of Bethlehem Sausage Works, are ready to open after setting up and testing the last pieces of equipment this week, Eric Mayer said.
J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc., a development and design/build firm in Bethlehem and Asbury, N.J., recently completed the 18,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility.
Construction on the four-acre site in Forks Township began last fall, said Joe Correia, project executive at J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc.
“The site gives us a much more efficient footprint,” Eric Mayer said, adding that it also leaves room for expansion. The company previously was in Ridgefield, N.J.
Mayer, a surgeon at St. Luke’s University Health Network, has been in the Lehigh Valley since 2003 and said it was time to expand the third-generation business. Eric and Kenneth took the name Bethlehem Sausage Works to call their Forks Township facility, using those same production techniques for the new site.
Bethlehem Sausage Works has expanded several times since 1982, when the family acquired Kocher’s in Ridgefield. Once named Kocher’s Continental Specialty Meats, Bethlehem Sausage Works produces gourmet specialty sausage and delicatessen products and is looking to sell them nationally. The company will manufacture, ship and wholesale its products from the Forks Township site on Mort Drive across from Famous Smoke Shop and Leaf Restaurant Cigar Bar and Lounge.
“Our original facility was in New Jersey,” Eric Mayer said. “We didn’t have any expansion opportunities at that site. “It [the new site] brings us very close to our source ingredients.”
As an example, he said the company’s pork is from Souderton.
All products are made on premises, from farm-to-table ingredients sourced locally.
The company makes more than 100 products and does not use artificial ingredients or fillers, and its smoked items are naturally hardwood-smoked.
Though it’s in Forks Township, the company decided to keep Bethlehem in the name for better name-brand recognition, Mayer said. In addition, the company first had plans to relocate to Bethlehem.
He said the business will open with 16 employees and that hopes to get to 30 a year after opening.
Bethlehem Sausage Works is starting to populate in some stores in the Lehigh Valley, including Valley Farm Market in Bethlehem, Mayer said.
For its e-commerce business, Bethlehem Sausage Works has a website, www.bswstore.com.