A proud tradition: Fourth generation takes reins at Croghan Meat Market

John M. Campany and daughter Blaine E. stand behind the meat counter at Croghan Meat Market. Ms. Campany is purchasing the market from her parents, becoming the fourth-generation family member to produce Croghan Bologna. Photo by Justin Sorensen/NNY Business.

One of the north country’s most tightly guarded recipes is now in the hands of a new generation of family at Croghan Meat Market.

Blaine E. Campany, whose great-grandfather, Elmer “Buddy” Campany, purchased the market and the original recipe for Croghan Bologna in 1919, recently took the reins as general manager at the century-old store in the heart of the village’s downtown.

Ms. Campany, 23, is buying the business from her parents, plant owners John M. and Charmaine V. Campany. The move comes at a historic time for the Lewis County favorite as 2013 also is the market’s 125th year in operation, the past 94 by the Campany family.

“I really never dreamed there would be anything here that she would want to be doing,” Mr. Campany said of his daughter’s leading role in the business.

Ms. Campany almost lost her chance to keep the market in the family as a deal to sell it to a former employee was in the works last year. But when it appeared the sale was going to fall through, she stepped up and told her father that she wanted to continue the family tradition of producing a tasty north country staple.

“My father never pushed [the business] on me.” Ms. Campany said. ”I’m too proud to let it go. I’d rather not see it fail.”

Her pride is palpable.

Just in her first year, she’s worked hard to make valuable connections with other local business owners, secured a seat on the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce board and graduated from the chamber’s Lewis County Leadership Academy.

“I believe in my community,” Ms. Campany said. “I want to be a hot spot to draw people to Croghan. We have a lot here with the Maple Museum, the Railroad Museum and Wishy’s.”

Ms. Campany holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport, where she majored in recreation leisure with an emphasis in tourism management and minored in business management. Since coming home to permanently manage the market, she’s put her education to good use.

“We offer some unique products and things you can’t find any other places,” Blaine said. “That’s what sets us apart.”

Ms. Campany’s mother couldn’t be more proud of her daughter’s decision to take over the family business.

“She showed some very good qualities growing up,” Mrs. Campany said. “She’s very efficient and responsible; easy going, but firm, too.”

Having grown up around the market, working long days isn’t a challenge for the younger Campany.

In a typical week, the market produces 3,000 one-pound rings of bologna, doubling output just before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Fresh bologna is made Mondays and Thursdays with early rings available at noon, along with fresh local cheese curd.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]