Tarnowski's Kielbasa

    • ss wilkes tarnowski s kielbasa
John Vishnefski is a local entrepreneur who grew up within a large extended family. His grandfather, Thaddeus, started the business in 1948 as he had a knack for making delicious, homemade kielbasa. Many friends and family members often asked him to make his products on a regular basis. It was out of these inquiries that he decided to start the business. For many years, Thaddeus produced and sold his delicious kielbasa until he couldn’t manage the business any more due to age and health issues. Eventually, the business would change ownership a few times through family members.
 
The story then fast forwards to Fall 2011. John Vishnefski, Thaddeus’s grandson, had decided that he would like to purchase and manufacture his grandfather’s original product, as well as add some of his own products. John felt that the business had fallen into a state of disrepair and product quality was lacking. John eventually purchased the business from his uncle with the intention of someday relocating the small manufacturing area, which is located in nearby Glen Lyon, PA.
 
Since the purchase, John has worked very hard to replicate his grandfather’s recipe and has also added his own signature taste to it as well. After he reopened the business, John’s Kielbasa debuted to an audience of multiple generations who often comment that his product is even better than the original recipe. John has also experimented and successfully sold smoked meats and cheeses of his own design.
 
John approached the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in early 2013 as he decided that the time was right to begin looking for a larger manufacturing and retail space. John brought with him all sales records from 1948 to the present. He knew roughly what the store had done in the past, but asked his SBDC consultant to help him to put together a spreadsheet to keep better track of all sales.
 
The Wilkes University SBDC worked with John to develop a strategic direction for his business. John was also shown the proper way to construct a business plan and financial forecasts, which he is presently using to secure financing for a new manufacturing facility.
 
In 2013, John finished second at the Plymouth, PA Kielbasa festival and was recognized for his outstanding fresh and smoked kielbasa. Also in 2013, John moved his retail store to downtown Nanticoke in order to gain visibility and to better accommodate his clientele.
 
Since becoming a client of the Wilkes University SBDC, John has been very active with growing his successful business. He has more than doubled his production capacity since opening. He accredits a good portion of his success to working with the Wilkes SBDC to become more efficient. He regularly checks in with his consultant and visits when he needs advice concerning daily operations.