Mundelein business aims for only the best in its product
MUNDELEIN Wednesday Aug 15 2012 Alef Sausage machine operator Stefan Kisyouv of Palatine prepares sausage on the assembly line to be pacakaged. Alef Sausage in Mundelein is a manufacturer of different types of meats which are sold to ethnic grocery stores throughout the area. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Alef Sausage
LOCATION: Manufacturing plant at 1026 Campus Drive in Mundelein; also operates small deli business at 354 Townline Road (Route 60) in Mundelein
SPECIALTY: Specializes in gourmet sausages and meat products which are distributed to ethnic food stores and grocery stores nationwide
CONTACT: www.alefsausage.com or (847) 566-0008
Updated: September 6, 2012 3:40PM
MUNDELEIN — In 2000, Alec Mikhaylov started a small deli and sausage manufacturing plant in Mundelein.
Twelve years later, Mikhaylov’s business, Alef Sausage, is an $8 million manufacturing operation that sells a variety of ethnic sausage and meat products distributed to thousands of ethnic grocery stores and supermarkets across the country.
“Our goal is to make a very good product,” Mikhaylov said. “Our product is very popular. We sell around the entire country. We also have distributors in Canada.”
It’s quite the success story for the Ukrainian native who moved to the United States in 1992.
Mikhaylov, who now lives in Vernon Hills, said he was originally trained as a construction engineer but also enjoyed making different types of sausages at his home.
“I got the idea to create my own plant, my own business,” he said.
In 2000, he leased space to start a deli and small sausage-making plant on Route 60 in Mundelein, near the Garden Fresh Market. The deli products became popular with many new Russian and eastern European immigrants who had settled in the suburbs, and the business began distributing products to grocery stores, delis and markets.
Because of the success of the business, Mikhaylov purchased a plant on Campus Drive in Mundelein to expand his manufacturing operations. The plant underwent a major expansion last year, and is now about 35,000 square feet.
Mikhaylov attributes the success of the business to hard work and high-quality meats that use natural ingredients. Popular items include smoked and dry sausages, as well as different types of bologna and salami-style products.
He said the company doesn’t use the artificial coloring or flavorings commonly found in many other sausage products. “Our products just contain meat and spices — nothing else,” he said.
“It’s natural. It’s not artificial flavored. It’s tasty,” said Igor Shwartsman, Alec’s son-in-law, who works as a manager at the plant.
“It’s very popular,” Shwartsman said. “We’re selling our products in 34 states, from the East Coast to the West.”
Alef Sausage products can be found in a number of area ethnic food stores including the Garden Fresh Market, Fresh Farm International Market in Niles and other stores in the Chicago area.
American consumers like the products as well, Shwartsman said.
“All my American friends who try our sausage say it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Alef Sausage’s manufacturing plant on Campus Drive employs 12 people and Mikhaylov hopes to add a second shift if the business continues to expand. The small deli on Route 60 is still open to the public and sells sausage and meat products and grocery items. It employs 18 people.