In the spring of 1961, a 24 year old man named Herbert Eckmann waited at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. In his hand he held a one-way ticket to Anchorage, Alaska, a largely unknown place which he hoped would provide the opportunities he was seeking for himself and his young family. He said goodbye to his wife Eva and his five-month old son, Sebastian, promising to bring them to Alaska as soon as he could, then boarded his plane to seek his new life.
Herb fell in love with the grandeur of Alaska immediately, with its mountains, forests, rivers and abundant wildlife. A trained chef, he found employment as a sausage maker for Lou Comeau at Lou's Market on 9th and Gambell and was soon able to send for his young family to join him. Also working at Lou's, was fellow German Otto Poehling and the two men became friends. In their conversations at work and afterward, Herb and Otto began to develop a dream. They recognized that Anchorage hunters had nowhere to bring game meat to be cut, processed and packaged, and the young friends believed that they had the skills and the determination to provide that service for the Anchorage community. Gradually their dream took shape, as the men purchased equipment and leased the 9th and Gambell store. It was there that Alaska Sausage Company opened its doors in 1963.
From the start, Herb's philosophy was always to put the customers' needs first and stand behind his product. The early days of the business were marked by long hours, with Herb and Otto personally helping each customer, hanging and cutting the meat, making the sausage, and doing everything that the business required. Herb carefully considered his sausage recipes, making sure he settled only on the best taste combinations. Business grew steadily and the list of products and services continued to expand. In 1967 the company relocated to 30th and Arctic, the current location. Shortly after that, Herb bought his partner's share of the business. Since then the company has seen three expansions to its facility, and now includes a wide array of custom and commercial services including reindeer and European sausages, smoked salmon and halibut, and a European retail store.
For fifty one years, Alaska Sausage Company has met the needs of local hunters and sportsmen, and Herb has maintained his dedication to excellent customer service and quality products. That commitment to quality and customer service continues through Herb's son, Martin, who joined him in the business in 2005. The business started in the dreams of a young man saying goodbye to his family in Frankfurt, took shape in the talks and plans of two young friends working long hours together and has materialized through the decades of consistent service, quality, and attention to detail.
Martin and Herbert Eckmann - 2013