CLEAR LAKE --McDonald's Meats in Clear Lake is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. It's a fourth generation family business that opened in 1914 along Main Street.

The meat market started out as a general grocery store. Travis McDonald is the current owner. He says people would be surprised to know that his great-grandfather John McDonald opened the store selling dry goods and not raw meat.

Eventually, John bought and ice box and began selling a few varieties of sausage. "He harvested ice in the winter. He'd hold it in an ice box and deliver it throughout the summer," says Travis.

The meat market started to become a popular destination on the way to the lake or cabin. The store hit hard times during The Great Depression. Co-owner Jennifer Dierkes says McDonald's Meats helped many customers survive the depression.

"There was a lot more trade that went on during The Great Depression. There wasn't so much money that exchanged hands. It was a lot more trade to keep everybody living through it," says Dierkes.

The store made it through its rough patch and began to experiment with new items. Travis' grandfather Richard McDonald began to grow their meat department. "He dabbled into the slaughtering side of the business. That's when my grandfather started doing more of the grocery locker side of things. We were known as McDonald's Meats Grocery and Locker," says Travis.

Travis' father Dave McDonald was interested in expanding their selection of beef jerky. As a kid Travis recalls working for the family business and passing out samples of the meat treat.

"We would hand jerky out to local cars that were going by. We would go door-to-door around the local lakes. We would go door-to-door and hand out flyers and jerky samples to really get the jerky...going for this meat market that we have now," says Travis.

The meat market has won more than 150 local and national awards for their products since opening along Main Street more than a century ago.

"It's amazing if you look back (at) the different things we had to go through to get here," says Travis.


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