Strauss closing Franklin facility, moving operations to Illinois

Strauss Brands, Franklin

Strauss Brands will shut down its Franklin production facility and relocate operations to Illinois, the company announced on its website Tuesday.

CEO Dave Wiggins said in a statement the move is a "necessary step" in growing the company's grass-fed beef product line. Production of grass-fed beef products will move to Ruprecht, a division of Kilcoy Global Foods, located in Mundelein, Illinois.

"The decision to relocate production to Ruprecht was made after a meticulous evaluation of various options, with a paramount focus on ensuring continued quality and seamless customer service," Wiggins' statement continued.

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The move follows the divestiture of Strauss Brands' veal and lamb product lines last fall, the company said, a decision made in order to focus exclusively on grass-fed beef. 

Strauss Brands also said it is "fully committed" to supporting employees impacted by the decision to shut down the Franklin facility. Details about what that means were not readily provided.

The third-generation, family-owned company was founded in Milwaukee in 1937 as Strauss Brothers Packing, according to the company's website.

Statement from Franklin Mayor John Nelson

"The writing was on the wall.

"During my years as city alderman, I’m aware of the amount of work and attention Strauss Brands received from Common Council," said Nelson. "After their 2019 failed attempt to open the meatpacking plant in Milwaukee, Strauss looked to expand in Franklin. The community that I represented as an alderman and now mayor, said loud and clear that the development in the proposed location was not welcomed.

"In fall of 2023, Strauss divested a division of its company, which meant 127 lost jobs in Wisconsin, mostly Franklin, so it was obvious the group was going through restructuring.

"I certainly appreciate the years Strauss Brands called Franklin home and I wish them luck. But now it’s time to open our city to established companies that are looking to invest in our community and amazing people. Franklin is open for business."