Corridor Sausage conquers Midwest markets one weenie at a time

Corridor Sausage is a staple in metro Detroit. Go to Detroit's Eastern Market or the Royal Oak Farmers Market and you will find people crowding around a stand to buy Corridor's gourmet sausages. Same thing with events at Ford Field or jet setters at Metro Airport. It's almost to the point where it's hard not to stumble across a Corridor Sausage product in the Motor City.

But what's making life good for the Eastern Market-based food startup is that its brand is spreading far beyond the region, and even Michigan. The 6-year-old business recently launched into the Chicago and Wisconsin markets through new distributors, and it is planning to make headway into major metro areas in Pennsylvania through another new distributor this year. And then there is Ohio.

"Ohio has been really great for us the last 12 months," says Will Branch, co-owner of Corridor Sausage. "We are adding as much geographic territory as fast as we can."

Corridor Sausage specializes in making artisan sausages from fresh, local ingredients. Its selection of links ranges from chorizo to bacon and beer brats to Morrocan lamb and fig. Demand for these sausages has jumped 30 percent over the last year as the Corridor Sausage team works to keep up with the mix of local customers it has cultivated over the years and new clientele just discovering the brand.

"We're still tracking similar growth for 2016," Branch says. "It's always a mix of those two things. The last thing you want to do is start covering new ground and forget about your existing territory."

Corridor Sausage has made four hires (two full-time, two-part-time over the last year, all on the production end. It now employees seven full-time people, two part-time employees, and an intern from the Detroit Food Academy.

"We will definitely start hiring again in a month," Branch says. "Our busy season starts off in April, May."

Corridor Sausage also recently opened a stand in the McNamara Terminal of Metro Airport. The small venue opened near Gate A in November. It joins Corridor Sausage's two retail stands at Ford Field.

"It (the Metro Airport location) has been excellent," Branch says. "It's been really exciting for us."

Source: Will Branch, co-owner of Corridor Sausage
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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