Prost! Karl's Owners Celebrate Successful Move to Peabody
Karl's Sausage Kitchen & European Market is finding itself right at home in its new Peabody location.
The mood was festive and upbeat inside Karl's Sausage Kitchen & European Market on Friday afternoon, and that wasn't just because of the three-piece band providing some traditional musical entertainment.
Regular customers, city officials and other fans of the European shop streamed in and out to pick up some specialty meats or imported goods, grab a bite to eat and celebrate the official grand opening of Karl's. In addition to members of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Ted Bettencourt, Claudia Schütt, Deputy Consul of the German Consulate, also traveled up to Peabody for the day.
"It's been a very long road getting here. Bob and I had the vision about four years ago to create a space for the German community to come together, to enjoy meals, to be able to shop," Anita Gokey told the crowd gathered at the front of the store. "I can safely say there were times we didn't think that was going to happen."
But thanks to the support of the German community, other local businesses and institutions, and of course, loyal customers, the Gokeys pulled it off.
"With any luck we'll be here for another 55 years," Anita Gokey said.
The market has been in business since 1958 and is widely known for its ethnic meats -- more than 50 varieties of homemade sausages, for instance -- and other imported German foods.
Karl's draws customers from all over New England, the Gokeys say, and not just those with Bavarian roots, but also people who have traveled to Europe before and may be looking to pick up an authentic gift.
"To have Karl's open up in Peabody is tremendous," said Bettencourt, calling it a "landmark" business that will just serve to attract more shoppers to the city.
Bettencourt said Friday was his first time inside to sample the food, and he was impressed.
The market has been open for two months now at its new location, and even though it's not directly on a major highway anymore, that hasn't stopped the regular and loyal customers -- and some new ones -- from flocking up to Lowell Street in Peabody.
Anita Gokey said one problem with the old location, despite it's prime visibility, was that it was on a divided highway and therefore difficult to get to for a quick stop.
The new Karl's is not only roomier, but also has a small European café for about 20 sit-down customers who can enjoy a sandwich or grilled sausage with a German beer or Riesling. There are also domestic beers via the Mercury Brewing Co. -- makers of Ipswich Ale -- and Samuel Adams Brewing.
The Gokeys received a full liquor license this spring to serve alcohol on the premises.
There's even a viewing room where customers can watch the sausages being made, regular cultural events and special guests (Wear your Dirndl or Lederhosen to Karl's Day was on Saturday) and all the coffee comes from North Shore roasters Atomic Cafe.
Sam Adams, through its American Dream Micro Loan Program, actually provided the Gokeys with a $17,000 loan two years ago that allowed them to give a facelift to their iconic seven-foot sausage sign.
TD Bank worked with the Gokeys on financing for the overall move and they also took advantage of commercial loan programs the city offers to small businesses.