Like most successful businesses, Brown Packing started with little funding, big dreams and a commitment to both hard work and customer service. Walter Brown was a cotton farmer who began with a few head of cattle in the late 1930s. The business has changed a lot over the years, but Walter’s industrious spirit, his integrity, and his desire to share his vision with good people is evident in the generation who run the company today.
Mr. Brown started in the meat business in the 1930s, operating out of his home in the Goucher Community of Gaffney, SC. He later did his butchering at the Claude Burgess Slaughterhouse. The City of Gaffney built and operated an abattoir at our current location in 1938. The City leased the facility to Walter Brown for $100/month in 1941, with him later purchasing the plant and property in March, 1943 for $8,245. The plant was operated by Cherokee Packing Co., Inc. and later, United Beef Company. In 1957, Armour and Company, a leader in the industry, purchased the company which Walter continued to run until 1975. His son Gene was also a key member of the team,learning the business from Walter in Gaffney and then managing other Armour facilities across the country.
In October, 1977, Brown Packing Co., Inc. was born – or reborn. The former Cherokee Packing Co., Inc. was renamed and reorganized. Gene and his brother Jim purchased Spartanburg Abattoir that year and eventually purchased the previously shuttered Gaffney facility from Armour and Company in June, 1979. While Armour was downsizing, the two showed the mark of true entrepreneurs with the confidence they could make it as independent businessmen.
Although Brown Packing is one of the few relatively small, private meat packing companies in the country, 2016 Cattle Buyers Weekly lists the company as the 20th Top Beef Packer in the United States. Brown Packing serves some of the largest and most respected names in the food industry. Our products are distributed throughout the United States and exported all over the world.
At Brown Packing Co., Inc. we believe running a business requires a delicate balance of stability and flexibility. Our standards remain constant while the methods used to meet and to raise them are the result of deliberate and effective change.
Gene Brown passed away on March 16, 2005, but left an indelible mark on the company that he and Jim founded in October, 1977. Gene always said, “I’d like to think that no matter how much our process has changed over the years, we’ve always set ourselves apart with service. It’s something everybody talks about, but to us, it means filling the big orders and the smaller ones with the same care. We’re loyal to our customers, and they’re loyal to us.”
Today, Jim Brown is President. Gene’s sons Reed and David Vice Presidents, and Gene’s son-in-law Sloan Bradford is the Purchasing Director. The commitment to quality continues.