Regional Brands, Hoffy, Part 1

The Hoffman Brothers Packing Company was founded in  Southern California in the 1930s by three siblings and thrived for decades.  Hoffman produced sausages and other processed meats from their factory in Vernon, CA, and were well-regarded suppliers to grocers and restaurants around SoCal.

By the late 1970s, the industry had changed significantly, and larger concerns were dominating the industry, producing a great deal of pressure on the mom and pop operations.  In another lifetime, I personally poked my nose in dozens and dozens of small sausage manufacturing facilities in Louisiana, many of whom started in a kitchen or garage, and grew into multi-million dollar operations.  I saw the effect of the large corporate squeeze on operators of this size.

In an attempt to vertically integrate before the phrase was even coined, Hoffman invested in a hog slaughtering facility in Nebraska.  The deal went south, and coupled with the death of the company patriarch, Hoffman piled up a mound of debt and filed for bankruptcy protection in 1993; they filed under Chapter 11, which allows a company to keep operating while reorganizing or attempting to find a buyer.

Hoffman chose the second option, and in 1995 found a savior in  in Square H Brands, Inc., a company formed by the principals of a number of other successful food companies, including the founder of Kal Kan, Stagg Foods (canned chili) and Palisades Foods.  The principals of the companies were all members of the Hirsch family.  The were joined by Henry Haskell, who still serves as President of Square H Brands.

The quartet was determined to bring the meat processor back to its former glory days, and to date, it sure seems like they are on target to do so.

(Here’s a sidebar on how to cook a hot dog at home).

(Information for this post was compiled from a variety of sources, on and offline).