Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 21

GERMAN GENES
It's not unheard of for a hot dog and sausagemaking family to have German roots, and the
Zweigle family is no different. Wilhelm and
Josephine Zweigle emigrated from Germany
to Rochester in the late 1800s. First working
with a sausage maker brother, and soon
starting his own sausage company, Wilhelm
opened his butcher shop on the corner of
Joseph Avenue and Kelly Street in downtown
Rochester, in 1880.
The couple sold Old World German
sausages to shoppers, saloons and
neighborhood markets in the area. Wilhelm
died three years later of typhoid fever, but
Josephine was able to keep the business
running - just one of the many women to
have a strong impact on this family business.
In 1887, Josephine married Henry Frey, also
a butcher and sausage maker by trade, and
the two kept the company going until her two
sons, Bill and Leonard, took over in 1912 and
renamed the business Zweigle Brothers.
The siblings continued to grow the
business, expanding to the building next door
to the shop's original location, and adding more
customers and products to the growing menu.
Included in the growing product portfolio was
weisswurst - the German white sausage was a
predecessor to the company's infamous " white
hot, " a well-known Rochester mainstay that
still sells today.
In 1931, Leonard died leaving his brother
and son, Leonard Jr., to continue running the
business. Soon after, Zweigle Brothers started
a partnership with the Rochester Red Wings
baseball team to sell hot dogs at home games -
this sponsorship continues today.
The company continued to expand with the
addition of more modern processing equipment
and a packaging line. Bill Zweigle died in
1954, and his wife Mary assumed ownership
of the company. At the same time, Robert
Berl, nephew of Bill and Leonard, joined the
company. Berl bought out Mary and Leonard
Jr.'s shares a couple years later to become the
sole owner of the company, and changed the
name back to Zweigle's Inc.
As the business continued to grow through
the years, it was necessary to move into
bigger facilities, none of which were far from
the company's original Joseph Avenue and
Kelly Street location. Staying in downtown

Rochester has always been important to
the family.
" Rochester has been our base for 140
years, " Camardo said. " When it came time for
our recent expansion, we did look at other
places, but it made good business sense for us
to stay here. This community supports us, and
always has. "
In 1995, the fourth generation of the
Zweigle family - Roberta Camardo (Berl's
daughter) - took over as president. A few
years later, in 2002, Julie Camardo moved
back home to start her career with Zweigle's.
Her sister had chosen another career path, so
her involvement in the company was the only
way to keep it in the family down the line. She
worked in sales, human resources, payroll
and operations, learning every aspect of the
business firsthand from her grandfather and
mother. Her grandfather, Robert Berl, died in
2004. Years later, in 2009, when her mother
passed away, she was ready to take the reins
as president.
In 2015, Camardo was named chief
executive officer and Kevin Salva took over as
president and chief operating officer, the first
non-family member to hold an executive role at
the company.
" I am so proud of this 140-year-old
business, " Camardo said. " I'm proud to be able
to continue the legacy, not only as a multigenerational family business, but also as a
woman-owned business. And I truly believe all
the women that came before me would be very
proud of where we are today. "
Camardo has three children - ages 15, 12
and 9. Her oldest daughter has mentioned the
possibility of being the sixth generation to run
the company in the future.
" She hasn't started working here yet, but
she's expressed interest, " Camardo said. " I've
told her she needs to work somewhere else
first to get experience and to help her decide if
this is really what she wants to do...She really
does love the company and already has pride
knowing it's been in the family for so long. "

RED OR WHITE?
While the Zweigle's business and legacy was
born from traditional German sausage, today
the company features a wide range of beef
and pork hot dogs; sausage varieties including
German and Polish and a line of chicken

" I'm proud to be
able to continue
the legacy, not
only as a multigenerational
family business,
but also as a
woman-owned
business. "
- JULIE CAMARDO

Bill Zweigle was the
second generation of the
Zweigle family to run
the business. He and his
brother Leonard took over
in 1912 and renamed the
company Zweigle Brothers.

www.meatpoultry.com | 02.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

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