LIEBENTHAL – There still will be Pat’s Beef Jerky. There just won’t be Pat.
Pat Carver, owner of Pat’s Beef Jerky for 30 years, has decided to retire and is looking to pass the successful business on to a new owner. He is selling everything, from the building and land, the equipment, and – perhaps most importantly – the secret recipe that separates his jerky from others.
Carver was working for the Public Works Department for the City of Hays and making jerky on the side for friends when it became so popular he decided to go into business on his own. He bought the building at 401 Main in Liebenthal, which at one time was a bank and owned by his great uncle. Part of the building had a liquor store, and after it went out of business in 1990 Carver gutted the building to make his jerky.
Carver sells four flavors: regular, pepper, hot and teriyaki.
"It’s a tender jerky, not real dry," he said.
Several years ago, Carver started selling his jerky in Hays among other locations, in addition to his storefront. He also ships jerky all across the country.
"I’ve had some opportunities to meet some celebrities," Carver said. "We shipped product to Tiger Woods years ago. I’ve dealt with Wrangler Jean Company. I’ve shipped to the White House."
Carver has three full-time employees and two who work part-time. Lori Maneth of La Crosse has worked for Carver for 10 years.
"It feels like family," Maneth said. "We do spend a lot of time here."
Maneth said the job can be stressful, especially during the busy holiday season. She added it’s "kind of scary" to think of Pat’s Beef Jerky without Pat.
"I’ve stuck by his side," Maneth said.
Carver said he would not leave a new owner high and dry. He would help the transition to ensure Pat’s Beef Jerky maintains the same quality. Carver, 63, hopes somebody takes over and has another 30 years of success.
"I like being around the public; I’ve enjoyed it," Carver said. "It makes me feel good I was able to do something and make it go."
Carver said the business will still have the same name under new ownership. He added the store will stay open until a buyer is found.
"It makes me very proud," Carver said. "People from all over the United States know the name. If they changed the name (customers) wouldn’t know what they are getting."
Carver said he knew the secret to his success.
"A lot of love."