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Usinger's gift boxes shipped across the country

Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-28 15:04:17-05

It's an inherently Wisconsin product. Usinger's Sausage has been around since the 19th century. 

But people all across the country will have a taste of Wisconsin this Christmas. 

"Our gift box operation really revs up this time of year and into December," Fritz Usinger, President of Usinger's Sausage said. "Christmas will be about 10 to 15 percent of our overall volume of the year."

The family-owned company started making gift boxes in the 60s and has become a tradition for many families. 

"It's great to know we're part of family traditions for people," Usinger said. "It's nice to be able to be a part of that."

They offer 40 different varieties of gift boxes. Each one is hand packaged by the employees. They box up some 1,200 to 1,500 each day and ship them across the country to all 50 states. So even though it's freezing in Wisconsin, people in Arizona can enjoy their summer sausage. 

"Summer sausage is very hearty and ships well," Usinger said. "We do have gifts like raw, fresh sausage, fresh brats, fresh Italian and grilling products. We have to pack those with dry ice and we pack those in a thermal container. They'll stay nice and cold for a couple days on the road. If going somewhere warm, we'll ship that federal express or some sort of expedited service. We have things like smoked hams, certified Angus beef steaks, a wide variety of things. Some more highly perishable than others. We take special precautions to get those where they got to go and in great shape."

In order to fill these orders, they have more hands on deck. Some employees who work in offices are called in to help with boxing. The building of about 160 employees start an assembly line of gift box creation. Each of them take pride in their work, like Roland Stefanic who has been doing this for 40 years. 

"My mother had worked here and I started right after high school," Stefanic said. "I take a lot of pride because I don't like errors or mistakes. We want to make sure the customer is satisfied with the gift and it looks well."

Not only did Stefanic's mother work here, but so did his aunt. He also met his wife while working here. Now, the third generation of Stefanic's are here as his son started working there. It's as much a family business as it is a family product. 

"It makes me feel good," Stefanic said. "Makes me feel good that they're going through all 50 states all over the place and they're enjoying our gifts." 

Usinger's says in order to get their gift box in time for Christmas, people should order them by mid-December