Tank's Meats Inc. is continually growing after 102 years of service

Original article by Alan Reeder (Ohio's Country Journal)

Tank's Meats Inc. is interesting and old; you get a good experience of full service at this old-fashioned meat market.

F.J. Tank started the Ottawa County business located in Elmore, 102 years ago. In 1907, it simply sold beef, pork, luncheon meats and cheeses.

Owners of Tank's Meats Inc. and the years they took over were: F.J. Tank, 1907; Walter and Elfreda Tank, 1937; Alois and Marcia Amstutz, 1976; and Eric and Kurt Amstutz, 2008.

Before coming to the United States, Alois went to school in Switzerland from 1954-1957, where he learned his sausage knowledge and skills. At school, the only thing he had to pay for was his room and board. After Al finished his apprenticeship in 1963, he saw an ad in the newspaper for a sausage maker needed at Tank's Meats, and thus he came to the United States in 1964.

New to the country with no knowledge of English, Walter and Elfreda's daughter, Marcia, helped him learn the language. They soon were spending time together outside the meat market and English lessons, a relationship developed and they eventually married.

In 1975, the year before Alois and Marcia took over the business, Marcia's father's health started to decline. That winter, Al and her were approached by her parents telling them that they were going to retire after the first of the year, and they offered to sell them Tank's Meats. Al and Marcia never planned on buying the store. But, "it was a commitment you wanted to see continue," Marcia said, and they took over the business on Jan. 1, 1976.

Family members still involved at Tank's are: Alois and Marcia, Eric, Kurt, Kurt's wife, Julie, and their brother-in-law Kenny Peterson, and sometimes on Saturdays the grandkids come to help out.

The way the company is being run has changed since the doors first opened 102 years ago. Many improvements have been made.

"We have made about nine to ten additions to the building since the business started," Marcia said.

The prices and cuts of meat have also changed from then until now. In the beginning, the meat had the bones in them, and now they are coming out with more types of cuts - finding different things to do with the meat.

Today, Tank's has 25 employees. They service about 300 wholesale accounts, such as restaurants and grocery stores. They are adding on a new freezer. The market does everythin from custom processing of beef, pork, lambs and goats, to a full line of fresh cut beef and pork in their cases. They also have a full line of lunchmeats and sausages, and ham and bacon that are all made at Tank's. All of their products are available in their store or through wholesale delivery.

Tank's Meats has been honored by the Ohio Association of Meat Processors and the American Association of Meat Processors as frand and reserve grand champion on state and national levels for their Smoked Hams, Bacon, Fresh Pork Sausage, Natural Casing Wieners, Summer Sausage, German Bologna, Pickle Pimento Loaf, Braunsweiger, Pepper Sticks, Full Muscle and Restructured Jerky, Smoked Turkeys, and Artistic and Commercial Party Trays.

Eric was named the president of the Ohio Meat Processors Association in March 2009. OAMP is a non-profit organization that works for the betterment of the meat industry in Ohio. Eric is greatly pleased to have been elected to lead the organization.

"It is worthwhile because there are so many different types of people and businesses that are members of the organization, from small meat processors to their food suppliers and packaging and equipment suppliers," Eric said. "There are many different regulation and laws that are always changing. Anything that our organization can do to help these members stay on top of the changing regulation and marketplace in these times is what I feel we need to accomplish."

Hence, the long-running family business seems to be in very capable hands.

"Through the generations, all the family members have helped make Tank's success possible," Marcia said.

Continually changing and growing, the Tank's Meats family prides themselves with the high quality of livestock that is purchased from local farmers and cut continually throughout the day to please their customers.

"Hometown pride and service has always been a motivation and it is felt that you have to do your best to achieve the best," Marcia said.

This 1934 Chevy once served as the market's delivery truck.
Kurt, Marcia, Alois, and Eric Amstutz stand in front of the current Tank's Meats location in Elmore. The family-owned business was started by F.J. Tank in 1907.
Walter Tank is the man standing to the left of the meat case in this old family photo. The man on the right is an employee. This was Tank's old store. Here they did not sell as much as they do now.
F.J. Tank stands in the middle of this family picture, and on both sides of him are employees. This was also their old store when they actually hung carcasses out in the retail area.