The state Bureau of Meat and Poultry Business says between June 2022 and June 2023, 15 new meat processing establishments came online. One of these is Paulie’s Chop Shop in Luxemburg. This family-owned business opened up in December 2022.
“I think the biggest reason I wanted to do this is, growing up, I always liked going deer hunting and making different sausages with my Grampa,” says Owner Paul Wery. “When he was younger, he actually worked at three or four different meat suppliers in our area.”
Wery took a certificate program through Madison Area Technical College and was a youth apprentice in meat processing. Paulie’s Chop Shop was awarded two state meat processing grants. Wery says the grants helped his business get off the ground by addressing the high cost of entry.
“There’s definitely a lot to it,” Wery says of starting a meat processing facility. “The building here took us 15, 16 months. The equipment, too, that’s really another big aspect of it, finding the right companies to work with. And then from an inspection standpoint, there’s a lot to do with HACCP plans — each product you make has different guidelines you follow.”
He’s currently processing about a dozen head of beef and a dozen head of hogs every week. He says he hopes to expand his numbers, species and equipment as early as this summer.