Okawville Times Sept 28, 2011
Out of the ashes of a devastating fire, a new Wenneman Meat Company in St. Libory will reopen for business Monday, October 10.
The new $6 million building, at 22,000 square feet, is twice the size of the former facility that was a series of additions. Architect plans for another addition were destroyed in the fire. The new building was designed with efficient flow-through from slaughter to counter. It is built on the former location on Route 15. The landmark St. Libory business was destroyed by mechanical or electrical fire January 27th. Construction of the new building began in May.
Owners Brad Schmitz and Paul Otten faced a critical decision after the fire: rebuild or take the insurance settlement and get other jobs. The first week they were totally focused on rebuilding while operating their business as a scaled-down version in a rented facility, Schmitz said. Then reality set it. Operating in a rented facility didn’t work out. Customers would need to find other suppliers for the months it would take them to reopen. The cost of rebuilding was far more than the insurance settlement.
For a few weeks the owners were torn about what to do. “We gave it a lot of thought,” Otten said. In the end, it was the income tax obligation that led to their decision to rebuild. The IRS would have taken 40 percent of their insurance settlement as capital gains.
They considered building a retail store and small processing plant with no kill floor. But Schmitz, 38, and Otten, 33, decided they wanted to operate the best facility possible. “It was ‘Go big or go home’,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz and Otten have been partners in the business for seven years. They were both employees of the meat market when they bought it from Schmitz’s uncles, Jim and Bob Wenneman. Click the link above for the whole story