About Tip Top Meats
The founder and owner of TIP TOP MEATS, John Haedrich (Big John), left his hometown of Bad Biba in East Germany in 1949, 20 years old. He left everything behind and escaped to West- Berlin.
He did not know what yet, but he wanted to do something better with his life. Hitler and the following communist era in East Germany had taken every opportunity away. His own parents owned a butcher shop in Bad Bibra, following a long family tradition. Because of all the shortages due to the war and regulations in a government controlled business, there was no future for the development of a free business.
John's sports activities brought him to West-Berlin. Long hours of training had equipped him with discipline, endurance and self-esteem, which helped him through some hard years. After 10 to 12 hours working in the butcher shop, he spent his "free" time in the gym with hours of jumping rope and running hundreds of miles.
1953 John earned his Master Craftsman's Certificate. His parents had instilled the values of quality service in him and his brother Wolfgang, also a butcher. Now his focus was starting his own business in West-Berlin. But the Cruschtschow era with the sputnik and Russian threats in 1958 made the young man unsure of a good future in Europe.
In the same year Haedrich answered an ad in the German Trade Papers: The Marhoefer Packing Company in Springfield, Illinois was looking for a German Meat Sausage Master. But in between he met people from California, who told him not to get stuck in the Midwest, but to move on to California for a better future.
John followed their advice, went to California and accomplished himself in a few jobs, until he started his own business in Glendale, California. He had come the USA to be an American. He wanted to fit in and be accepted. Because of his desire to get involved in his new home he was invited to participate in many projects in Glendale: He became
- Director of the Chamber of Commerce
- Director of the Optimist's Club
- Director of the YMCA
He earned many awards:
- 2 Citizenship Awards for the most beautiful building for both his meat markets in Glendale (1969/73)
- Governor's Trophy "America show your colors" for his co-sponsorship (City of Glendale & TIP TOP Meats) of the Rose Parade Float in Pasadena (1976)
- Citizen-of-the-year-Award in Glendale (1976)
After 10 years in Glendale, John Haedrich saw no opportunity for an expansion of his business, so he moved TIP TOP MEATS as a landmark business to Carlsbad, California. A vacation trip to San Diego had brought him to Hadley's orchards along the Interstate 5 on the way back. They had just started a business in a new building. John saw the potential in the South Carlsbad area and put his Glendale business up for sale. 50 years old he enjoyed the excitement of a new challenge. He purchased 2.7 acres from the Hadley's to start his own business in their neighborhood. His good reputation followed him from Glendale, and soon he was accepted in the community of Carlsbad. Friends and customers helped John excel in his third new business in California.
In Carlsbad, John got involved in sponsoring sports teams. He became director of the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA Encinitas; he sponsored St. Patrick School and the TriCity Christian School. He became active in 4H and FFA organizations, supporting youth and seniors. 1984-2005 he was a board member, 1991-1993 the president of the TriCity Hospital Foundation, 1996-2004 director of the Chamber of Commerce.
All of this had earned him the community's appreciation and respect, plus many awards:
- the highest award of the Chamber of Commerce, the MASTER MEETS award
- the Citizen-of-the year award
- the Paul Ecke Community Hero Award of the Chamber of Commerce Encinitas (2004)
- the Ronald Reagan Award as businessman of the year (2004)
- the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Gold (honorable peacetime achievement award)of Germany for the support of his hometown Bad Bibra in former East Germany, Sachsen-Anhalt, by Bundesprasident Johannes Rau
- 2 gold medals for the best German restaurant (2006/07)
Thinking of all these precious and joyous memories make John happy: "I am so blessed and grateful that I could do all of this!"
And he is looking forward to doing a lot more: Enjoying his job as a traditional German craftsman, and serving the public with quality products.
TIP TOP MEATS is a family business in the best sense of the word. Three generations work together on the success of the company. Big John's wife of almost 30 years, Diane is the office manager and accountant. Daughter Jennifer Haines is the store manger and "jumps in" wherever she is needed, knowing the business from childhood on. Her daughters Amanda (19) and Megan (16) literally grew up with the business. Until today they spend almost every free hour, that high school and college leaves them, at TIP TOP MEATS, serving customers wherever they can help. There is also son Matthew (13), who excels on karate and little sunshine Michelle (3).