As Memorial Day approaches and temperatures rise, many of us will enjoy hot dogs and bratwursts on the grill. Saginaw County is home to several esteemed family-owned meat stores, none finer than Kern’s Sausages in Frankenmuth.
The Kern family first emigrated to the US from Rosstal, Germany, where they were retailers, arriving at their new homestead on Frank Rd. in Frankenmuth in 1853. On January 9, 1902, Marcus L Kern was born into the family. In 1925, he married Esther List of Frankenmuth and they had two sons, Robert (b 1928) and Charles (b 1932). Marcus worked driving a gasoline truck for 29 years before heeding the advice of his doctor and finding a job that would keep him indoors. The 47-year-old fledgling entrepreneur secured a personal loan from a close friend and purchased Charles Vanek’s Corner Grocery at 995 S. Main St in Frankenmuth. Soon after opening the grocery, Marcus began manufacturing homemade sausages he painstakingly stuffed with a small hand cranked stuffer, which his wife Esther then twisted into links. Sausage making soon would become the hallmark of the business. Both sons, Charles and Robert began working at the store at an early age, only taking time off to serve in the US Army in the 1950’s.
In 1958, a partnership was formed between Marcus and his two sons, to be called Kern’s Sausages. Eleven years later, Marcus passed away and Charles and Robert purchased their father’s interest. On July 1, 1974, Kern’s Sausages moved across the street to a new location, complete with modern production equipment and added an in-store bakery. They are located there to this day.
Charles’s two sons, Ron and Kevin, continue the business as third generation owners today. Ron serves as the company’s “sausage guru”, combining his manufacturing and artistic skills to create delicious sausage, utilizing only top-quality carefully trimmed meats and a variety of spices including salt, pepper, allspice, coriander, mustard seed, paprika, onion, garlic, fennel, and nutmeg among others.