For locals, Lupo’s and their spiedies have probably been household terms for decades. Since the founding of the original Watson Boulevard Lupo’s store in 1951, the family has been providing fresh, quality and classic meat products to Broome County (and beyond), adding some signature marinades along the way.
Current co-owners Sam Lupo Jr. and his brother Steve learned everything they know about the family business from their father Sam Sr. and uncle John Lupo, original owners of Lupo’s meat market in Endicott. It was through this store that most Broome County residents first became familiarized, and enthralled with, Lupo’s meat products.
This solid foundation, in addition to the hard work of Sam Sr. and John to making Lupo’s as reputable and well-run as possible, gave this business its strong start. Though Sam Jr. and Steve grew up helping out at the meat market, it wasn’t until after their uncle John suddenly passed away, that the second generation of Lupo’s brothers got heavily involved in the family business.
One year later, when Sam Jr. graduated from SUNY Oswego, his father asked him for a year of help with the business so they could figure out together what the next move was for Lupo’s. In Sam Jr.’s words, “That year is still going.” Next year will be his 50th work anniversary with Lupo’s!
Since Sam Jr. has worked full-time for Lupo’s, he’s been instrumental in making the necessary changes to take their business to the next level, such as opening their State Street restaurant, the introduction of spiedies, as well as the closing of the original meat market in 1992, which took Lupo’s from retailer to wholesaler.
Throughout Lupo’s period of transition into a wholesale business, Sam Jr. found a huge market for Lupo’s products through the Binghamton Giant Markets. The Giant was the first truly solid customer of Lupo’s after they became a wholesale meat manufacturer, taking Lupo’s, and their best-selling spiedies specifically, to the next level.
While the spiedie didn’t originate with the Lupo family, they are the only local manufacturer of spiedies. What most people don’t know is that when Lupo’s (who originated the chicken spiedie) first started selling chicken spiedies in the early ‘80’s, they weren’t well received.
It wasn’t until the year after their initial introduction that this local delicacy really took off. True to their family-oriented ways, Sam Jr. and Steve are the only people who know the exact spiedie marinade recipe.
Though chicken spiedies are their all-time best-selling item, Lupo’s offers a variety of meat products including chicken, lamb and pork spiedies, sausage, boneless and pre-marinated chicken breasts (all manufactured in their Endicott facility), as well as various marinades like spiedie, buffalo, lemon-garlic, barbecue and more (all made and bottled in the Kirkwood location).
The economic impact of Lupo’s on our region is unquestionable. Lupo’s produces a million and a quarter pounds of meat products every year, with April through September being their busiest season. Between their restaurant and manufacturing facilities, Lupo’s employs fifty to sixty employees.
Furthermore, Sam and Steve make sure that all their locations are pristine and up to Broome County Health Department, NYS and U.S. Department of Agriculture, health codes every day. Lupo’s is HACCP Certified and USDA-inspected with an inspector on site each day, as well as Safe Quality Food third party audit, internationally recognized. This explains how Lupo’s products are so fresh and why there has never been a recall of Lupo’s products in their business’ long history!
Despite such a sound foundation, like any business, Lupo’s has encountered challenges along the way, such as finding the right employees and staying updated on the changes to different local, state and national industry regulations.
Expanding into markets beyond Broome County has proved the biggest challenge for Lupo’s though. Being an area delicacy Lupo’s spiedies and marinades essentially sell themselves around here.
Outside of the area though Lupo’s is “a little fish in a big pond” according to Sam, who (along with Steve), has worked hard to get Lupo’s products to stores outside the area–and has succeeded tremendously over the years! Each year, Lupo’s products reach roughly five million people here and beyond.
Lupo’s products travel to grocery stores as far south as Scranton and Wilkes Barre, as well as Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Corning once a week. They also private label for Price Chopper stores.
Sam still believes there’s more that can be done to grow Lupo’s presence and brand in Upstate New York though. This winter, Sam and Steve plan to focus their efforts on continuing to distribute Lupo’s products to well-established and new markets in the Northeast, as well as selling their new pre-skewered spiedies throughout Upstate.
Sam and Steve are pleased to be working with Sam’s son Eliott, growing the business into a third generation.
From humble meat market to Broome County staple, Lupo’s products can be purchased in almost every local grocery store. For out-of-towners looking to enjoy Lupo’s one-of-a-kind products, you can find them in select grocery stores at the locations mentioned or on their website #MadeinBroome #Broomeisgood #agoodlife.
Lupo’s is part of why #Broomeisgood and the #MadeinBroome program.