The former Galat Packing Co. factory, a landmark on Kenmore Boulevard for a century, is finally packing it up.
A demolition crew began tearing down the brick and steel complex that supplied pork, beef, poultry, veal, lamb, lard and other produce to generations of dwellers. ‘Akron.
“Good! Good! Good!” the company announced. “Go get Galat’s.”
At its peak in the 20th century, the company supplied fresh sausages, bacon, ham, bologna, smoked sausages and cold cuts to more than 500 grocery stores in Summit County. Its fleet of 16 trucks traveled through Akron and Barberton at full speed.
Families dined on Galat’s Meats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From holiday parties and summer picnics to restaurant meals and lunch boxes, Galat Packing Co. has fed everyone well.
During this time he employed a battalion of meat cutters, butchers, salesmen, drivers, accountants, clerks and secretaries. Many of them were European immigrants.
“If you are ready to work, anytime is a good time to come to America,” said George Galat, company founder, president and CEO.
Born in Yugoslavia in 1897, Galat immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1913 when he was 16 years old. The family settled in Barberton where Galat worked in a match factory and delivered groceries in a horse-drawn cart.
At 18, he landed a job at the Charles Udesky Meat Market in Barberton and bought the store a year later. Around 1922, he and his business partner Mike Bates founded Galat Packing Co.
Galat purchased the former Ohio Packing Co. at 1472 Kenmore Blvd. He started with pork products, processing 16 pigs a day, and gradually spread to other farm animals. In the early 1950s, the factory was processing nearly 800 pigs per week.
Growth has been slow but steady. Galat started working at 4 a.m. each day and worked at least six days a week. The company added buildings and workers, employing over 100 people at its peak.
“The Galat plant is quite modern,” the Akron Beacon Journal reported in 1933. “It takes an average of about a minute to get a pig out of the slaughter pen, through the cleaning tanks and the room. inspection up to large refrigerators.
“Once the meat has cooled and seasoned in the refrigerators, it is sent back to the packing plant for processing into sausages, bacon, hams, fresh pork, fresh beef, veal, lamb, smoked sausage, lard, bologna and much more. others. products of such an establishment.
“It is then handed over to the delivery fleet and sent to meat counters in dozens of Akron district stores and from there to thousands of Akron tables. “
In 1936, Galat sponsored a competition to find a brand name that would express “all the fresh, healthy and tasty quality of our meats”. Firestone Park resident Alberta Smith won the grand prize of $ 50 for suggesting “Corndale,” a name that had been on Galat’s labels for decades.
Pork sausage was perhaps Galat’s best-known product, but the company’s pure lard was also famous, used by Summit County bakers to make pies and pastries.
“The fine texture of Galatian lard makes cooking easier and better, and for this reason it is used everywhere by experienced housewives,” the Beacon Journal noted in 1937. “Good lard is also easy to digest. “
During the holidays, Galat bought thousands of turkeys, chickens, geese and ducks from Ohio for Christmas.
“We always take great care in the selection of our party poultry,” said Galat. “We only buy from the best poultry farms because we know that the way the bird is fed and raised has everything to do with the taste and tenderness of the meat.
The company overcame its share of hurdles, including the Great Depression when sales were shattered and World War II when meat shortages hit.
Over the decades, several large fires have damaged the business, including a fire that destroyed 10,000 pounds of meat. A Kenmore neighbor filed a factory noise and odor complaint, but Galat won in court.
There were also work stoppages.
The company’s employees were from the United Packinghouse Workers of America. There were occasional strikes, but labor issues were usually resolved quickly. During contract negotiations in 1949, the company made headlines when it agreed to allow its employees a paid day off on their birthday.
George Galat was 59 when he died on February 6, 1957, after a short illness. The packing station closed and halted sales and deliveries on the day of the funeral. Galat is survived by his wife Joséphine, his daughters Evelyn, Martha, Pamela and Bunnie and his sons Jerry, Carl, Paul, George and James.
The company continued to operate until the late 1980s before the Galat family closed its doors. Subsequent businesses at the Kenmore Boulevard address included a meat store, marketplace, produce store, and thrift store.
With the building vacant for several years, trees began to grow out of the roof and chimney. In October 2019, the city ordered the complex to be demolished.
Heavy equipment arrived last week and a crew began razing the building on Friday. Bricks, corrugated iron, tires and other debris piled up along Kenmore Boulevard as machines gnawed at the old meat-packing plant.
A worker told the Beacon Journal that a neighboring business was planning to expand on the property, but no company official could be reached to confirm this.
Carved in stone atop a brick building, the Galat Packing Co. brand stubbornly refused to acknowledge that its days were over.
Mark J. Price can be contacted at email@example.com.