It all began in 1981 when Art Visnaw bought Al's Market in Bay City, MI and renamed the company to Bay City Meats. Bay City Meats was located at the current location of Michigan Brand, on the South end of Bay City, MI. Art Visnaw was an entrepreneur who had owned or was part owner of many companies during his lifetime. Bay City Meats was involved with supplying local restaurants with various meat products along with supplying local businesses with premium deli meats. During that time, Bay City Meats was most widely known to produce delicious hams, which was their specialty.
In 1981, the current owner of Michigan Brand, Inc., Mike Grillo, married Karen Grillo (Visnaw) the daughter of Art and Mary Lou Visnaw. Mike Grillo worked with Art Visnaw on developing Bay City Meats to become an even more successful business. In 1994, Mike and Karen Grillo bought Bay City Meats from Art Visnaw and rebranded the business to the current Michigan Brand, Inc. Michigan Brand, with the direction of Mike Grillo, introduced new products to their inventory including jerky, specialty hams and sausage. However, Michigan Brand, Inc. still continues to use the same ham recipes that were used when it was Bay City Meats. These new products, introduced with the new branding, took off and has been a great part of the Michigan Brand, Inc. business.
More recently, Michigan Brand has continued to introduce new products with the addition of shelf stable products. These products do not have to be refrigerated; they can be left on the shelf at room temperature. Michigan Brand supplies many customers within Michigan and outside of Michigan. Michigan Brand is now employing a little over 150 employees at the Bay City and Frankenmuth locations.
Michigan Brand has two plants currently in operation. One in Bay City, Michigan and one in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Both are in full operation and produce various products at the locations. Michigan Brand has always been a family business and still has many family members and friends who have continued to drive the success of the company.