About Grand Champion Meats
Our name says it all…
We couldn’t stop winning awards for our meats even if we tried.
Local retail expands by relocating
Foley Locker Inc., Grand Champion Meats awarded grant
By Elizabeth Hoag – Benton County News 4/2/2019
FOLEY – The Foley Locker, purchased by Jerry and Linda Gall in 1971, has been a prominent business in Foley for nearly 50 years. When the time came for Jerry to step down as business owner, his daughter, Kelly Gall Washa took over. Jerry still remains a big part of the sausage making, most days he is the first person at work.
The last few years have brought many changes, including rebranding from Foley Locker to Grand Champion Meats. The facility was awarded an Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in order to move their retail store to another location and remodel their current processing plant.
“We are going to be relocating our retail store from downtown Foley to the intersection of Hwy 23 and Hwy 25,” Kelly said. “The building was formerly a bar & restaurant, and has already been cleared out and is currently going through a remodel.”
The grant was awarded through a competitive application process to support profitable businesses.
“The funds will increase access to Minnesota Grown Products,” said Valerie Kloss, Office Manager. “We have received several grants in the past 7 years. We just keep growing as a company. This is our biggest project we’ve done yet.”
Grand Champion Meats received grants in 2012 through 2016 and in 2018.
“I am very excited to have been chosen to receive the AGRI grant from MDA,” Kelly said. “I was born and raised in Foley and grew up in the meat industry. It is a dream come true to continue pursuing my passion in the family meat business. I look forward to serving the community for years to come and hopefully pass on our traditions to the next generation.”
Over the years, the business has developed and outgrown their current location in downtown Foley.
“We opened up the retail section of our business in 2003,” Kelly said. “We are maxed out on space and land locked. With the need for space we decided to expand which was possible with the grant.”
Along with re-designing and constructing the new retail location, the funds will be used to purchase new processing equipment to remodel their current location, expanding their packaging area.
“Our custom meat processing facility will remain at its current location, where it has been for over 45 years,” Kelly said.
At their current facility, they are a custom meat processing plant, which processes beef, hog, elk and wild game.
As the completion of the new retail location approaches, tentative opening month of July, the facility will have a few new options.
“The fresh meat case will be larger than our current one,” Kloss said. “We will also be opening The Blue Ribbon Café, where we’ll serve fresh foods from our deli including sandwiches, salads and soups. We will also have fresh coffee and ice cream cones.”
The future plans also include purchasing a small smokehouse to provide beef brisket and pulled pork in house.
Following the completion of the retail location, the business plans to have the remodeling of the current location finished by the end of the year.
While Grand Champion Meats focuses on the opening of their new retail location and remodeling of their current facility, they are also maintaining their third location located in Crosslake.
“We opened in Crosslake 6 years ago in May of 2013,” Kelly said. “It is open seasonal, typically from March to September, my husband Tony Washa manages that location.”
Between the two locations, the business currently employs 26 staff members who have been working hard to make the project transition smoother.
“We plan to continue to serve the local community in the same ways we have in the past while expanding our business,” Kelly said. “Our main focus is to increase the volume of Minnesota grown products and handcrafted meats while using award winning recipes for the Foley community.”
GRAND CHAMPION WINS AGAIN AT MAMP CONVENTION
Jerry & Linda Gall along with Kelly Gall Washa & Tony Washa of Grand Champion Meats were among the 500 plus people in attendance at the 79th annual Minnesota Association of Meat Processors convention held this year in St. Cloud, MN. –at the Rivers Edge Convention Center. The group was joined by other meat processors and industry representatives from throughout the state for the three-day event. Kelly & Tony participated in daily seminars and discussions on topics that highlighted industry trends, explored new marketing ideas; answered question and solved problems of many meat processors. They also had the opportunity to view over 80 booth supplier displays of the latest in equipment and supplies/services for the meat industry. Grand Champion Meats participated in this year’s MAMP Product Show, made up of products from 25 plants and over 375 items.
Ten awards were brought back to Foley this year. Including:
Grand Champion Award: Braunschweiger
Champion Award: Grand Champion Fresh Brats
Champion Award: Teriyaki Flat Sticks
Champion Award: Grand Champion Summer Sausage
Champion Award: Twangy Cheddar Snack Sticks
Reserve Grand Champion Award: Grand Champion Polish Sausage
Kid’s Choice Hot Champion: Grand Champion Wieners
A special congratulation to Teri Parker for 1st place and overall winner of the three categories in the Innovative Beef Contest for her Pub Cheese & Pretzel Meatballs. Also to James Evans who took 2nd place in the Innovative Pork Contest for his Pork Condon Bleu Roll and to Lori Julson who took 3rd place in the Innovative Pork Contest for her Creamy Sausage Dip Pork Roll.
Kelly & Jerry would like to thank all of the employees at Grand Champion Meats for their part in making 2019 such a huge success. “Our team at Grand Champion Meats is very creative, we look forward to making new items each year and expanding our product line with the winners.”, said Kelly.
The Minnesota Association of Meat Processors is a non-profit trade organization representing over 150 independent small and medium sized businesses in the meat industry.
Grand Champion Meats provides award-winning meat products and unrivaled customer service that inspires customers to recommend us to family and friends. We are active supporters of the communities we do business in, and provide a fair and safe workplace that values and rewards hard work.
Who we are
We’re a family business. In 1971, Jerry & Linda Gall founded Foley Locker and launched a business that continues today as Grand Champion Meats. The business is now run by their youngest daughter, Kelly Gall Washa, and her husband Tony Washa but you will find Jerry there on most days. Our “family” includes more than 20 employees—many of whom have been here more than 10 years. Over the years, a lot has changed: We opened a second retail store in Crosslake, MN, Tony and Kelly earned Master Meat Crafter recognition, and we have introduced many new products and services. At the same time, there is a lot that hasn’t changed: free samples, national and state award recognition year-after-year and our famous sausage, snack sticks, bacon, and ham.
What we believe
Our customers are our friends and neighbors. We stand behind our products and services and are committed to quality, integrity and friendly service.
Our employees are an extension of our family. If you work for us, you can expect fair wages, respect and teamwork.
The success of the communities in which we operate is as important as our success. We contribute to social and charitable causes with financial, in-kind and volunteer support.
What we do
We have been part of farm-to-fork before it was a thing. You will always find the freshest cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and seafood, as well as a wide variety of hand-crafted sausages, both smoked and fresh, snack sticks, bacon, ham and other products, all produced in small batches. We also offer custom beef, pork, wild game processing and state-inspected processing.