ALSIP - The “Corona Care Package” is bringing delicious and sizzling comfort to thousands of Chicago area meat lovers. It’s the brainchild of a longtime family owned meat wholesaler that suddenly found most of its customers closed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rich Whittingham showed FOX 32 some of the Corona Care Packages that are flying out the door of his family business.
For 72 years, Whittingham Meats has made most of its money as a wholesale distributor of all things carnivorous to restaurants, hotels and country clubs. But when the pandemic shut down those businesses two months ago, he needed a new strategy to survive.
"My father always told me you got to think like a Marine. Adapt and overcome. If you don't adapt you're going to crumble. So we came up with this idea and ran with it,” Whittingham said.
The Corona Care Packages -- between $80 and $160 each -- feature a variety of high-quality, vacuum-sealed meats and can be ordered online or at the company's retail store.
Now, instead of delivering meat to restaurants, the company's fleet of 10 trucks are busy making free delivery of the packages to most customers.
"So for the last three weeks it's been like Christmas every day here. We have lines wrapped around the building and were filling all the trucks with home deliveries,” Whittingham said.
Customers say it's a deal that sizzles.
"I love it. I love it. My daughter is very particular. She doesn't want me shopping,” said Marilynn Wieczorek.
"Saw about it a week ago. Figured I am on vacation for a week. Why not get some good meat to throw on the grill since I am stuck at home?" Jason Roseen said.
Because of the success of the Corona Care Packages, selling several hundred a day, the company has been able to keep all 30 of its employees on the payroll and maybe found a new business model.
"We're getting great response. We're getting great emails to thank us for doing this. And like I said they hope we continue doing it after the pandemic is over,” Whittingham said.