Join us every Saturday as we feature a store in the Lake Geneva area! Get the scoop behind the unique shops throughout Walworth County, and find out what makes them stand above the rest.
This week, we spoke to Nick Vorpagel from Lake Geneva Country Meats. Nick is a third-generation family member working at the store (three generations – now THAT is a family business!). They are celebrating 50 years of business this year and have won numerous awards through the years for their products. The store is loved by locals & visitors alike – and with good reason! Check out our talk with Nick below…
Q: Tell us about Lake Geneva Country Meats…
A: Our store started in 1965 when my grandfather, John Leahy decided he didn’t want to be a grocery store butcher anymore and wanted to start his own custom processing business working directly with local farmers. We started out in a barn in Lake Geneva and in 1967 moved to our current location. My grandma soon was roped into leaving her job as a teacher and helping out with wrapping, accounting, and pretty much everything else that was required to run the business. The rest is history!
Q: How did Lake Geneva Country Meats get its name?
A: We originally started out as Lake Geneva Packing, referring to the fact that we mostly were a meat packer, boxing up custom orders for local farmers. In the 1980’s my grandparents changed the name to Lake Geneva Country Meats as we started focusing on more retail sales, because they felt that the country has a strong connection with the best quality meats. It’s a bit long, but it works! To keep it short, the family still refers to the business as “the packing house.”
Q: What type of food/items do you sell?
A: We sell all of the fresh food items you need to make yourself a delicious meal. Our main focus is meat. You can get pretty much anything either from our fresh meat case or our freezer section. If we don’t have it, we can probably get it in the store for you within a few days. We also have a full deli counter, cheeses, fresh produce, bakery, seasonings, dry goods, beer, wine and liquor. In addition to the retail store, we still do custom processing of beef, pork and lamb, if you are looking to purchase a whole or half animal for your freezer.
Q: What makes your store unique?
A: At Lake Geneva Country Meats we focus on quality first and foremost. We do not put anything in our store that we do not think is of the highest quality. With food, we truly believe that if you don’t start with fresh, high quality ingredients the resulting meal won’t end up being anywhere near as good as its maximum potential. We also put a high level of craftsmanship in our products. We have an incredibly talented staff, starting with our certified Master Meat Crafter Jeff who has a hand in all of our sausage products. We like to say “you’ll taste the difference at LGCM” and we definitely think you will!
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: This is our 50th year of business! We’re super excited and grateful to everyone who has helped us make it to 50 years. We’re celebrating with events and promotions throughout the year (we did a 50¢ ground beef sale in January to kick it off) so stay tuned to see what we’re up to next!
Q: Do you have any events/specials coming up?
A: Yes! On Saturday the 25th we’re having a “Know Your Pork” tour where customers can come and learn from our Master Meat Crafter Jeff about where their pork comes from and how a pork chop becomes a pork chop. For anyone with an interest in local food and knowing more about their food this is a can’t miss. Advance reservations are required so go to this site for a ticket: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lgcm-know-your-pork-tour-tickets-16504533504
Q: What is the “must have” item from Lake Geneva Country Meats?
A: We’re known for our Leahy’s Sausage, named after my grandparents and made by hand, in-store. We make over 30 flavors of bratwursts, and they’re all great, but if you’re only going to try one flavor, try the Cherry Bratwurst. I know it sounds a bit strange, but it’s amazing, our family loves it, and if you want to know the recipe, well, we’d have to kill you after we told you. Just kidding!
Q: Do you ship, and can people order from your store online?
A: Yes, definitely! We ship most of our meat products overnight to make sure your products get to where they are going safely. We will ship anything in our store and like to work together with you to make sure we get the right package and shipping picked out for you. Give us a call at (262) 248-3339 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get in touch with you to arrange shipping.
Q: Do you offer gift wrapping?
A: Around the holidays we can gift wrap, but ordinarily we do not. All of our fresh meat comes in wrapped in beautiful white butcher paper, which is kinda like gift wrapping! It’s like every piece of fresh meat you take home is a little present to yourself waiting to be unwrapped and devoured 🙂
Q: Where can we find Lake Geneva Country Meats?
A: We are on Highway 50 about 3 miles East (towards Lake Michigan) from the intersection of US-12 and WI-50 (where Grand Geneva is located). Our address is 5907 State Road 50 E., Lake Geneva, WI 53147, and you can always call us at (262) 248-3339 for directions. Our retail market is open Monday – Wednesday 8 AM – 5 PM, Thursday – Friday 8 AM – 6 PM, and Saturday 8 AM – 3 PM. Our custom processing division (if you’re getting a full or half animal) is open Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM, and Saturay 8 AM – 3 PM. We’re closed on Sundays.
“Thanks for reading our interview and we’ll see you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats!” – Nick Vorpagel
Check back here every Saturday for a NEW “Shop Local Saturday” post, featuring businesses right here in the Lake Geneva area!