Weaver’s of Wellsville

Distributing Hand-crafted Foods for an Artisan Market
Written by: 
Dale J Rappaneau Jr.
Produced by: 
James Logan

Founded in 1889, Weaver’s of Wellsville (Weaver’s) recently celebrated the company’s 125-year anniversary and now boasts the title of a fifth generation organization. Throughout all those years and generations, Weaver’s has continued refining and improving the company’s trademark meats, as well as distributing quality cheeses, seafood and more.

“My brother, Cole, and I will be the fifth generation of Weaver brothers to run the place,” says Seth Weaver, marketing manager of Weaver’s, as well as the youngest employed family member. “The company started out as just a kind of hometown slaughterhouse, but now we make our own products and we’re a distributor for independent grocers in Pennsylvania and Maryland.”

The hometown origins of handling meat in a slaughterhouse have continued to influence the way Weaver’s conducts business. For example, the company takes great pride in resisting the mass-produced manners of producing meat products so rampant throughout the industry.

“We still produce our own products, and we still do them in the outdoor smokehouses,” says Seth. “What really sets us apart with our products is that they’re not assembly-line produced. They’re more like artisan craft goods.”

Foregoing the mass production mania that other companies have succumbed to can be a risky endeavor; however, dedication to the craft of individually produced products is a large part of the company’s success and longevity. Customers flock to the company to have a taste of what true craftsmanship and care can produce, and obviously the business model works for Weaver’s.

“We hope that the market continues to embrace our artisan meats,” says Seth. “It’s the product that we’ve been building for years, and we’re just trying to hopefully get the word out more about that.”

Artisan Brilliance

According to Seth, Weaver’s created the artisan product line to mimic craft beer producers. After all, the recent revolution of smaller breweries creating passion-infused beers and alcoholic beverages has been hugely successful. So now, the Weavers are following suit, in a separate industry.

“For a while we weren’t telling customers about the artisan craft meats, but now all of a sudden everyone is looking for it,” says Seth. “We weren’t letting people know because, well, we’re not a tiny company, but we were hoping to only grow a little bit every year.”

Seth’s humbleness does not accurately describe the company’s scope and distribution reach. Again, the company features an extensive distribution system, which Seth describes as the primary business for the company.

“We started by distributing our own meats, but we noticed that our trucks had extra room,” says Seth. “Since we were going to grocers anyway, we started distributing for other companies. Now we do meats, cheeses, seafood and I’ve been pushing us into frozen baked goods.”

The focus on independent grocers provides Weaver’s with a tight niche and intense market dominance. Plus, since the company has been around for more than a century, customers already know and respect the company brand. Weaver’s is part of the Pennsylvania experience.

“We cover most of the eastern part of Pennsylvania,” adds Seth. “Distribution goes as north as Scranton, as south as Baltimore and as east as Philadelphia. Out west, we go to about the I-81.”

All in the Family

Weaver’s boasts over 30 employees, which includes other members of the Weaver family. Craig Weaver, Seth’s father and CEO of Weaver’s, has been with the company for 35 years, while Cole Weaver, Seth’s brother and manager of operations of Weaver’s, has been with the company for four years. Additionally, his sister, Taryn, works summers with the company, and his mother, Kim, has also been at the company for between 12 and 15 years. Furthermore, his grandfather, Ken, was actively working until his passing two years ago.

“My grandfather kick-started the business and made it what it is today,” says Seth. “His passing was really hard on the whole company.”

Seth notes that having family members as an essential part of the company’s everyday functions has resulted in a few humorous developments. The seasoning for the company’s sweet bologna, to name an example, is not written down but only memorized by Craig, Seth and Cole. “We keep it in our heads,” says Seth with a laugh.

Clearly, the customers around Pennsylvania agree, because Weaver’s of Wellsville features a legacy worth both respect and admiration, and according to Seth Weaver, that legacy is set to keep on growing.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Commonwealth Benefits Group