WARRENSBURG - With a show of overwhelming support, people from all over the region showed up to hail the re-emergence of a landmark Adirondack-area enterprise, which has rebounded from a fire that consumed their enterprise less than five months ago.
Saturday, Oscar's Smoke House held a grand re-opening ceremony, and an estimated 2,000 people throughout the day attended to celebrate.
Area residents and visitors not only witnessed a ribbon-cutting, but took tours of the new plant, tasted samples of smoked meats and cheeses, greeted employees, and bought food to take home.
While many thought the celebration of Oscar's return was over late Saturday, the crowds resumed Sunday with nearly as many people as attended Saturday's official opening.
But the show of support wasn't over, as record-breaking business continued Monday, Oscar's owner Jerry Quintal said early this week.
"The number of people who showed up and wished us well was just overwhelming," he said. "The amount of business we did was staggering - we set all sorts of records as far as retail sales go."
Quintal credited the newspaper and television coverage for drawing thousands into Warrensburg over the weekend.
Area newspapers, including the Adirondack Journal and The Chronicle gave Oscar's reopening extensive front-page advance coverage. Six television stations broadcast the event. PBS attended Saturday, and returned on Sunday to film a mini-documentary of Oscar's rise from the ashes, Quintal said.
"We couldn't have gotten better advertising through the media," Quintal said. "The press coverage we've had has been unbelievable."
Saturday's celebration started off with hundreds gathering for the 9 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.
An hour earlier, however, Warrensburg's Main Street was already lined with vehicles of those attending.
Folks waited outside the Oscar's new building, chatting, with Jerry Quintal occasionally showing his face - complete with a gag pig nose - out the front door to elicit giggles from children.
At about 9 a.m., the 15 or so employees of Oscar's emerged from the front door, and welcomed community leaders, who gathered behind a ceremonial ribbon.
Jerry's son Joq Quintal, the heir apparent of Oscar's, read a brief history of the enterprise's rebound, thanking the community and the politicians for their support.
Of special note were state Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and state Sen. Betty Little, who helped arrange financing and grant funding for Oscar's new geo-thermal heating and cooling system, which is expected to save on utility costs as well as reduce the firm's environmental impact.
Joq Quintal also thanked the contractors for their work, including Mike Eddy for his interior work and Tom Beadnell for his trim and custom carpentry - and both Beadnell and Eddy, who are from Thurman, for their stonework. Quintal also praised the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. for their response at the Sept. 4 fire.
A portrait of Jerry Quintal was unveiled, evoking tears from the painting's subject, the man who decades ago took over the business from his father Oscar Quintal and expanded the business's reach via the Internet and mail order. The painting was created by Mariana Gibaldi of Queensbury, daughter of the noted Adirondack guide Paul Gibaldi.
The formal ceremony concluded, and the doors to Oscar's were opened - The public then flooded the newly expanded retail store that stands in the forefront of the meat processing plant that produces specialty products for customers across the globe.
A while later, Little not only hailed the return of Oscar's but she chatted with Oscar's employees and bought a great deal of their products.
Holding packages of sausage, kielbasas and ham, Little commented on how the enterprise was a regional landmark.
"Whenever ever I say, 'I was up in Warrensburg,' they reply, "Oh yes, that's where Oscar's Smokehouse is!"
Fred Monroe, who made the first purchase at the new store Saturday, said he was happy that the Quintals decided to rebuild, as they are a major player in the economy of northern Warren County.
"It's wonderful to see such a truly great business stay and flourish in the Adirondacks," he said.
Warrensburg Town Board member Austin Markey watched the flurry of activity in the new building.
"It's good to see my old friend up and running again," he said.
Adirondack activist Ted Galusha said he was impressed that a Warrensburg business enjoyed such success and national notoriety.
"I am proud of Jerry - because he stuck it out through thick and thin and came up victorious," Galusha said.
Sunday, victory was apparent in the empty product cases. Oscar's was sold out of jerky, smoked turkey breast and gourmet mustard. They were low on virtually all their 150 products, and early this week, the smokers were working overtime to restock the depleted inventory.
Oscar's workers held up to the strain, but apparently some of the equipment did not. Jerry Quintal said Monday his sausage stuffer "blew up" and a meat-cutting band saw burned up.
"We've been busy," he quipped.
Journal Correspondent Jean Hadden contributed to this report.
Joq Quintal (center)of Oscar's Smoke House reads a proclamation during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday that marked the reopening of the famed enterprise just months after the devastating Sept. 4 fire. Participating in the ceremony were (left to right): Kathy Quintal holding grandson Jaxon Egloff, Warren County Supervisor Bill Kenny of Glens Falls, Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe, Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus (partially hidden), state Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury, Oscar's owners Jerry Quintal and Joq Quintal, Contractors Mike Munter, Phil Fina, John Munter, John Perrone, John Munter Sr., and Warrensburg Town Board member Dean Ackley, and Oscar's employee Ernie Brown (foreground, right).
Photo by John Lustyik
Minutes before the official opening of Oscar's Smoke House Saturday, firm owner Jerry Quintal dons a pig nose and startles youngsters Jereck Quintal, Julia Quintal and Daniel Decker.