EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Bill Wagner (left) and Rolenda Wagner (right) help Jim Ahrndt (center) learn the butchering trade. The Wagners owned the 41 Market for 34 years before selling it to Ahrndt.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Bill Wagner (left) and Rolenda Wagner (right) help Jim Ahrndt (center) learn the butchering trade. The Wagners owned the 41 Market for 34 years before selling it to Ahrndt.

MENOMINEE TOWNSHIP — The 41 Market in Menominee Township is going through some changes, along with a new owner.

Jim Ahrndt purchased the 41 Market despite having no experience in meat processing.

“Other than processing my own venison, I really have no background in any of this,” Ahrndt said. “My motivation was to keep the business going. I would hate to see it close.”

Arndt has been a regular customer at the 41 Market for years before deciding to purchase it from previous owner, Bill Wagner. 

Wagner chose to sell his business because of health reasons. After several back surgeries, he felt it was time to move on, he explained.

“A while back ago I was picking up an order and Bill asked me if I’d like to buy it. He wasn’t talking about the meat, he was talking about the business. I thought he was joking but he wasn’t,” Ahrndt said. “He’s up there in age and was looking to retirement so I stewed upon it for a month and I called him back and said ‘you know, let’s do it.’”

Wagner, who has 49 years of experience in the meat business, has agreed to continue working with Ahrndt for six months. However, Wagner may stay on longer to help Ahrndt through the projected holiday rush.

“Our contract says I have to stay on for six months, but that would put us right about Christmastime and we’re extra busy then,” Wagner said. “Normally, we get to the shop around 5 a.m., but in December we start at 2 or 3 a.m.”

After Wagner leaves the business, he said he is unsure what he will be do. 

“My entire life has been this place, I’m not sure where to go from here,” Wagner said.

Ahrndt said he has already learned a lot from Wagner and he has found being a business owner to be an awarding experience. 

“It’s really difficult to find good quality meat, and the 41 Market was a hidden gem,” he said. “I am brand new at all this, I am learning as I go but I hated the idea of this place shutting down.”

Ahrndt said he wants to continue to provide quality meat to the community, while branching out a little further. 

“People really care about their meat nowadays and they want to know it was grass-fed or raised organically and we can give people what they’re looking for,” he explained. Ahrndt purchases meat from several vendors, including ones who specialize in grass-fed, organic meat. He said he also would like to reach out to local farmers to purchase from in the future.

“We like to keep things local and community-orientated,” Ahrndt said. “It’s very important to me.”

 The 41 Market is located at W5725 Birch Creek Road in Menominee Township. Retail hours run from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ahrndt encourages anyone looking to place an order to call ahead at 906-863-3498.

The market can also be found at Facebook, where a complete menu of products is posted.