Local meat manufacturers merge operations

Pastrami and hot dogs: a match made in heaven. That is what Mark Shuket is hoping for when his Old W

Pastrami and hot dogs: a match made in heaven.

That is what Mark Shuket is hoping for when his Old World Provisions in Albany takes over Fritz Helmbold in Troy today. Old World on Westerlo Avenue announced Thursday the merger of the two family-owned meat manufacturers.

The combination will add Helmbold’s German-style beef and pork hot dogs to Old World’s menu, which specializes in Manhattan-style pastrami and corned beef products.

“The next progression for our growth is to have all of those products,” Shuket said.

The Albany manufacturer was founded in 1942 initially as State National Provisions. Shuket’s JoMar Provisions in the Bronx merged with State National in 1991, creating Old World. Acquisition talks between the Shuket family and Helmbold’s Widmer family started three years ago and they picked up again recently.

Shuket said the Widmers took their Troy retail and manufacturing operations “as far as they can go,” but that Helmbold should grow robustly under Old World. Shuket will continue serving as the president and chief executive officer of Old World, and Marilyn Widmer will be its Helmbold brand manager.

“It’s exciting. We’re going to grow, but Helmbold products will stay the same,” Widmer said.

At Helmbold’s 10,000-square-foot plant on Fourth Street, where the company already makes bologna, Old World plans to make salami and various types of beef hot dogs. Old World, which employs 30 in Albany, also plans to add three workers to Helmbold’s work force of 15 within a year.

Fritz Helmbold founded his namesake business in Troy in 1913. Kurt Widmer, a Zurich, Switzerland, native and former executive of the Zum Zum meat store chain in Manhattan and Montreal, acquired Helmbold in 1968. In 1971, he built the company’s Fourth Street manufacturing and retail center.

Marilyn Widmer expects Old World to expand Helmbold’s reach from the Capital Region to nationwide. Helmbold’s hot dogs are sold at Price Chopper supermarkets and served at Gus’ Hot Dogs in Watervliet, Famous Lunch in Troy and Ted’s Fish Fry in Latham. Sysco Food Services also carries Helmbold hot dogs.

Old World also supplies Price Chopper with meats for Price Chopper prototype Ben & Bill’s, a Jewish-style deli that opened in 2006 at its Slingerlands supermarket.

Categories: Business

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