The Phelps family’s hot links recipe has spiced up Oklahoma dinner tables for four generations. Now, Mountain View Meat Co., the family company that those links built, aims to enter markets as bold and unique as the flavor of its popular smoked sausages.
“You grow one link at a time,” says Courtney Talbot, the company’s director of marketing and branding. “That’s always been our motto. No account is too big or too small.”
Link by link, Mountain View Meat Co. has grown to produce 10 to 15 million sausage links annually. The company’s branded and private-label links enter markets in 18 states from Michigan to the Gulf Coast. They also maintain a foothold at home throughout Oklahoma’s retail markets and restaurants.
Headquartered in Stilwell, on a scenic, sprawling hillside that inspired its name, Mountain View Meat Co. stays true to its roots as a multigenerational family business with an unaltered smoked sausage recipe and local focus. That includes 20 to 25 local employees and five family members who work together in the business. The family also maintains a commitment to the community in which the late Cliff Phelps, Talbot’s grandfather, founded Mountain View Meats.
Staying Linked to the Past
Mountain View Meats started in 1974 as a one-room operation in northeast Oklahoma, where the family sold beef and pork throughout the area from the back of a truck. As a side project they made batches of hot links from a family recipe.
Today, Mountain View thrives off those spicy hot links and four other flavors with its natural casing, coarse texture and bold flavor profile, Talbot says. While the niche sausage market drives their business, they continue to sell traditional cuts of beef and pork.
The newest marketing efforts encourage consumers to think beyond grilling season and its cherished bun, the most popular way to eat Mountain View sausages.
“We are trying to become a product that is shopped during all 12 months of the year,” Talbot says. “We’re looking for Mountain View to become a year-round brand and product.”
In that spirit, new attention-grabbing labels on Mountain View sausage packages will grace grocers’ shelves. Meanwhile, the company introduces recipes to inspire use of their sausage links in year-round entrees, whether red beans and rice, jambalaya or pizza.
Linked to the Future
In 2007, Mountain View Meats built a new facility with a state-of-the-art sausage kitchen.
“It was a huge step for us,” Talbot says. “It was one of those ‘build it and they will come’ decisions. We started putting all of our efforts into expanding our family recipe links. Fortunately, we were incredibly blessed, and we are maxing it out.”
Since that expansion, the company joined the Made in Oklahoma Coalition, a local product branding effort of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
“We joined because we were really hitting a growth phase,” Talbot says. “There were some
great mentors we connected with. We were able to be part of some great marketing strategies and billboard campaigns that we wouldn’t have been a part of if not for this coalition.”
At their headquarters in Stilwell, the family operates a retail store, which they renovated and opened at the end of 2015. Named Cliff’s Superette, it pays homage to the company’s founder.
“Growing up in a family business really makes you appreciate hard work. It makes you believe that if you have a goal and work hard and continue to push through, you can make it happen,” Talbot says.
“It’s the American dream,” she adds. “It’s been exciting to be part of the process and witness it all.”
Learn more about the company and view recipes at mountainviewmeats.com.