Korker Sausages is a family business story full of passion and determination to succeed. It all started in a small butcher’s shop in the Kent village of Rolvenden. Jim Hoad originally rented the shop in 1959 from where he ran a successful butchers and game shop. With the business proving successful, Jim was then able to buy the shop two years later. It was here that the original Korker Sausage, made following a recipe which has been in the Hoad family for four generations, was introduced. The response from customers was so good that Jim made the decision to shut the shop and concentrate on the wholesale production of Korker Sausages. To this day, the factory remains located in the village of Rolvenden and continues.
We think making sausages is in our blood. It all started with Jim Hoad who learnt his trade whilst training as a butcher with Sainsburys in 1954.
Determined to work for himself and build a family business he opened his butchers’ shop in Rolvenden in 1959. He spotted that there was a gap in the market for a proper traditional ‘banger’ and so the famous Korker sausage was developed and made, by hand, to sell in the shop with a weekly production of just 300lbs. The recipe for has been in the Hoad family for four generations and continues to be made today, as it is as popular now as it was when Jim introduced it.
Demand grew steadily and the Korker quality reputation spread to the point where they could no longer meet the local demand. Thinking forward, Jim bought some land in Rolvenden and built a factory for wholesale sausage production in 1981. The family empire was beginning to really take shape!
Jim’s children were often at the factory, helping Dad out in the holidays, accompanying Mum on site and learning the family business as mini-apprentices!
Jim’s son Robert was the first to start working in the business, as a teenager, in the new factory in 1981. To this day he continues to work in the factory, in addition to running his own smallholding nearby. He knows the production process inside out and is always on hand to fix any problem.
Edward joined the business in 1985 and having worked in every part of the business, today oversees production in the factory, along with securing our raw materials. For a long time, he lived in one of the cottages on site so that really is living and breathing the business!
Julie started working part-time whilst having her own family from 1989 and the flexible hours in the factory suited the demands of having a young family. She is now a full-time member of team, working in the factory when needed as well as looking after marketing and sales.
Jim’s grand children often step in when demand is high, particularly in the run up to Christmas and to earn some pocket money and in the school holidays! It’s a team effort and a family that live and work together.
New products were introduced, following customer demand, such as sausage rolls, gluten free, chilli sausages and burgers. These have grown the product range significantly and contributed to continued growth and success. Family run private distributors cover the majority of Kent and East Sussex and major wholesale businesses have delivered growth and stability.
Jim retired in 2015, but he knew the business was in good hands with his children and grandchildren now working full time as shareholders and company Directors.
2018 saw a brand re-brand for Korkers Sausages but the now famous pig remains centre stage as the heritage of Jim’s endeavours are much loved and not to be forgotten. 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of Korkers and the business has never looked better. With the sad passing of Jim Hoad in February 2019 his legacy lives on with this thriving and dynamic company run by his beloved family.