As the daughter of an entrepreneur and now a business owner myself, I love hearing stories of how people start and sustain their businesses. Since our family business didn’t survive beyond my father’s retirement due to other career interests of me and my siblings, I especially love hearing how these types of businesses successfully pass the torch to the next generation.
When I first met Brian Bianchetti and his sister Sara, I was drawn into their booth at an artisan fair by the bold branding of the family’s handcrafted People’s Choice Beef Jerky with the statement of “Locally Made. Family Owned.” The product was simple, and it stood out: it’s an old-fashioned style jerky handcrafted in a range of flavor profiles through spices and marinades that have been updated for the contemporary palette.
When chatting with Brian, I discovered that he recently returned after a stint working in advertising to help refresh the family’s marketing, and that his family had run their business in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) for nearly 90 years. I also found out that he is an Arts District resident. Intrigued for all of the reasons stated above and more, I asked if I could come visit him and his father Mark so I could talk more and see for myself how jerky was made.
Here’s a live unedited podcast of my visit, followed below by images and more information about Peoples Sausage Company:
When I arrive at Peoples Sausage Company, I instantly recognized the mural on the exterior that I had often passed during my treks through DTLA near the historic Coca Cola building. I discovered that the large-scale artwork was by Bill Lagattuta, a Los Angeles-based artist and former “48 Hours” news correspondent and television anchorman. In 2008, Bill approached Mark to see if he could paint the mural timed for completion when his latest art show was on view. The imagery is similar to a work by the artist called “The Executives.”
Once I entered the Peoples Sausage Company offices, I got a tour of their onsite production facility where I watched each step in the process of creating beef jerky: slicing, marinating, laying, and cooking. I also learned about the family’s rich history of making quality meat products. In 1929, Brian’s great-grandfather John Bianchetti founded what was then named Peoples Old Market. He started with nothing more than a few dollars and an indomitable will to succeed. His vision was to build a neighborhood meat shop that sold high-quality products with honesty and hard work. He proved the validity of that vision in 1939 when he moved his growing business into its current location at 1132 E. Pico Blvd. and changed the name to Peoples Sausage Company, solidifying their legacy in the specialty meat space. His grandfather Paul joined the company in 1955 and while described as “old school” in most ways, he was best known for his innovation overall. He set the mark for the company’s continuing reinvention of its products based on changing market trends while still retaining a strong identity and keeping true to its handmade simplicity. His father Mark took over in the 1970s and remains at the helm today.
Brian says, “I think a lot about tradition, history, and heritage. Whether it’s the boldness of my great-grandfather, work ethic of my grandfather, or foresight and vision of my dad, I can usually find inspiration for the future by looking to the past.”
People’s Choice Beef Jerky is the specialty meat company’s most popular brand, and it comes in a variety of flavors. Its Old Fashioned line comes in Original and Hot & Spicy. The Classic Style is available in Original, Teriyaki, and Hot & Spicy. Carne Seca flavors include Limon, Limon Con Chile, and Machaca. The Tasting Kitchen line currently comes in Sriracha (tangy and sweet with a kick of heat) and Garlic Ginger. Brian and Mark are always searching for new flavors and spices from around the world, so they also offer limited-edition, small batches of new varieties exclusively to their online customers.
To buy People’s Choice Beef Jerky, you can visit their location in person or buy online at www.PeoplesChoiceBeefJerky.com.0