For 53 years, members of the Uremovich family have helped to put meat on area tables through their family business, Hobart Locker & Meat Packing Inc.
Peter Uremovich, 65, remembers heading off to college after high school vowing, as do many teens, to never work in the company founded in Hobart by his grandfather and operated by his father, Robert Uremovich.
"His dad had started a little slaughterhouse on 13th Street in Hobart," Uremovich said. "After a couple of years of college, I came back. ... This business has provided for a lot of people over the years." Originally butchering only beef for area farmers, Uremovich said the family business had to change with the times. With fewer farmers raising beef cattle, the decision was made in 1985 to diversify, Uremovich said.
Hobart Locker & Meat Packing switched to lambs and pigs for roasting to serve the ethnic region.
In fact, Hobart Locker supplies all the area Serbian festivals held by St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville; St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Schererville; St. Elijah Serbian Orthodox Church, Merrillville; and St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, East Chicago.
"We still do beef for farmers, custom stuff," Uremovich said. His company also processes deer this time of year, too.
Additionally, Hobart supplies all Gelsosomo's Pizzeria locations.
In the 1970s, the slaughterhouse and a retail market on 3rd St. in Hobart were closed, and all operations were moved to the current 8602 Randolph St. location, which has a Crown Point mailing address but is located in Merrillville with a Hobart telephone number.
There, the family generally keeps 50 lambs shipped in from Iowa and 25 Hoosier pigs in stock. Butchering as needed, Uremovich said, "It's always fresh that way." The hillside location also keep fresh sausage, ground beef and slabs of ribs for retail purchase.
Like many family businesses, Uremovich's wife, Sue, works full time, too, doing double duty as the bookkeeper and butcher's helper. "I kind of married into it," she said.
Now, their son Jon Uremovich, 28, has marked seven years in the family business after his own two-year college stint.
"I don't think I could retire, but I'd like to slow down and let Jon step in more," Uremovich said. He said it's gratifying to be able to pass down the family business to the next generation.
Hobart Locker & Meat Packing, Inc.
Where: 8602 Randolph St., Crown Point
Phone: (219) 942-5952
Established: 1956 by Peter Uremovich, grandfather of current owner, also named Peter Uremovich
Employees: Four, including the owner, his wife Sue Uremovich, and their son, Jon Uremovich.