After 40 years of being a renowned local deli and meat locker, Ledebuhr Meats is no more.
Just a few days after Christmas, the two locations turned off their lights and closed their doors to customers, ending a legacy that was famous for its brats, beef jerky and meat. The local company, founded by Dave Ledebuhr and his father, had been sold to Chicago-based IBR Group in 2017.
“Things weren’t going well for them,” Dave Ledebuhr said on Wednesday. “They were losing money, and it got to the point where they couldn’t pay their bills so they closed.”
In late May, a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency suspended inspections at the processing plant in Goodview for nearly a month after an inspector determined the staff violated two federal regulations when it failed to humanely slaughter a cow.
Contact information for IBR Group agent Isaac Balcazar and a company website were unavailable. Former employees were either unable to be reached or declined to comment.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture agency suspended inspections at Ledebuhr Meat Processing for nearly a month after an inspector determined the Goodview meatpacker violated two federal regulations when it failed to humanely slaughter a cow.
Ledebuhr said the closure left him and his wife, Karen, with mixed feelings. The two sold the business as a way to retire and enjoy some years with each other and their grandchildren.
“It’s kinda tough that it’s come to this,” Ledebuhr said. “We were expecting great things. It was going to keep going and be successful and, if anything, get bigger.”
They were convinced IBR Group would be able to make that happen.
Through it all, Ledebuhr hasn’t completely lost hope.
“We certainly need this kind of service in the area,” he said. “My hope is to find another buyer so they can bring it back.”
The Ledebuhrs still own the building and property in Goodview, he said. The equipment, however, was sold to the new owners.
“Some of the equipment is still there,” he said. “My hope is that what is there I can still get back ... but it’s too early to tell.”
Standing behind a display case of meat and cheese in a room permeated by the aroma of spiced beef jerky, Dave Ledebuhr took off his white plastic gloves and came around the front of the counter.
Ledebuhr said he can’t make it happen by himself. He’s not at the age to be able to put the business back on its feet again, he explained, so he’s looking for someone with meat processing experience who could somehow continue the legacy.
“What I’ve heard now is that people are saying that it was good while it lasted,” he said.
But unfortunately, things don’t last forever, he said.
“It’s too bad that people get old,” he said. “We just wanted to have a life before we couldn’t any more.”