About Kessler’s, Inc.
From the butter, egg, tea, and coffee route of George Anthony Kessler in his horse and buggy to the present-day family-owned business, Kessler’s Inc. is proud of its humble beginnings. In 1916 in Easton, PA, George Kessler founded the Genther Bologna Company and produced Easton Bologna. George’s baked beef bologna became his dominant sales item. After a brief stopover in Lebanon, George Kessler moved his business in 1928 to Lemoyne, where the George A. Kessler Provision Company produced his Easton Bologna. Retail delicatessen stands were opened at Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market and at the Carlisle Farmers’ Market.
As the business grew, George moved, in 1929, to a larger facility at Seventh and Hummel where Kessler’s sausage and frankfurter processing began. In 1940, the business was relocated to 1201 Hummel Avenue and the slaughter of beef and pork was begun. The company’s name, then known as Kessler’s Meats and Provisions, once more changed when Kessler’s incorporated in 1945. Mr. Kessler and Emma, his hard-working wife and associate, retired from the business, having seen all eight of their children help in the family business.
Voluntary Pennsylvania State Inspection began in 1945 when John P. Kessler was president. In 1961 Charles Lester Zoll succeeded his deceased brother-in-law until his own death in 1967.
During the tenure of Robert E. Kessler, the succeeding president, slaughtering operations were discontinued in 1971. Kessler’s began to operate as a federally-inspected establishment, thus permitting interstate sales. USDA poultry inspection was granted in 1976. That same year Robert Kessler presented to Penn State University the idea of a frankfurter named for the Penn State mascot, and in 1977, Kessler’s Nittany Lion Franks became a reality. In 1986, Kessler’s sponsored its first annual Nittany Lion Franks 5K Run; the race continues to be held annually and benefits the YMCA. Upon Robert’s retirement in 1987, Dale W. Zoll, son of Charles L. Zoll, was elected president.
Robert E. Kessler, Jr. became president and CEO of Kessler’s in 1993. The family-owned business is one of the top 200 meat processors in the United States and currently has a team of fifty employees. Kessler’s markets smoked and fresh meats, sausage products, ham, bacon, deli items, and a wide variety of food products to a customer base of retailers, distributors, and foodservice operators. In addition to Kessler’s own brands, including Primal Scream, Nittany Lion Franks, the company also private labels food products for retail chains, distributors, and other meat and poultry companies.
Kessler’s is currently celebrating our 100 Year Anniversary!