On Easter weekend, 1886, Alois ‘Grospop’ Thurn opened up a stall at the Old Central Market and began selling old world style, processed items. When he immigrated to Columbus from Germany a few years before, he began working at a processing plant that scrapped items often used to make things back home. He took home certain things and made meals for his family, then his neighbors. In 1886, he made the leap to a full time purveyor of meats and processed items. His venture was quickly a success, as other immigrant families discovered the European flavors and styles he brought to market.
He worked out of his home, on South Front Street, but quickly outgrew it. In the 1890’s he bought some property off of Greenlawn Avenue and built his first plant and a new home. The entrance to the old plant can still be seen today.
In 1958, with the new interstate encroaching, his son, Alois, along with his grandsons, Robert, Paul and Leo, began construction on a new plant and storeroom. This facility is still in use today. In 1965, the Thurn brothers moved out of the Central Market, 2 years before its demise. Since that time, 530 Greenlawn Avenue is the only place to buy Thurn’s products.
In 1988, The 3 Thurn Brothers sold the business to Albert, Roberts’s son. At this time, the competition had changed. Large commercial entities had been defining price and product for a number of years. Also, the European immigrants from the late 40’s and 50’s were getting older. In order to survive these lean times, Albert opted to process wild game. Thurn’s Specialty Meats, now the name of Albert's company, quickly became highly regarded in hunting communities. Hunters appreciated the personalized service and flavorful sausages, much in the same way his great-grandfather's customers did.
After Greenlawn was completely rebuilt and a floodwall was constructed in the early 2000’s, the retail business began to rebound. Food lovers from around the city began to seek out different offerings from the homogenized products on grocery shelves. Thurn’s Specialty Meats fit the bill. Albert has never altered his product, some recipes dating back to the 1800’s. Albert also brought in a few new items, like smoked fish and chicken wings.
Today, Albert's brother, Anton (a Professional Chef), and Alec Thurn, son of Albert, assist Albert during production. Robert Thurn makes his way in a few times, too. Anton and Alec compliment Kirsten Cox and Teresa Thurn, completing the public face of Thurn's. Albert is always available and enjoys 'talking meat' with the customers. You may even get a new recipe or wine pairing during your shopping experience.