Christina Parrott and Adam Meldrum
Christina Parrott and her husband Adam Meldrum had a new vision for Strauss Brothers, a historic Detroit business that had been in her family for more than 50 years. Originally a butchery in Eastern Market founded in 1954, where her dad worked before owning it with her grandfather until it closed in 2005, the company has been revitalized by the couple, who own it with her three sisters.
“The restart gave us an opportunity to rebrand in our own way,” said Meldrum. “We relaunched as a food product business and a food experience brand.”
After living in Washington, DC, the couple returned to metro Detroit last year. They are both from the east side, and currently live in Birmingham with their young son. The newly-minted entrepreneurs kept their day jobs. Parrott works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Meldrum owns a media buying business for political campaigns and does political consulting.
Before returning to the area, they came to Michigan for Christmas in December 2020. Parrott’s grandfather was also in town, and they all went to Eastern Market to buy meat for their holiday dinner. When Jim Klein, vice president of Wigleys Corned Beef Co. gave them a tour of the facility, it all clicked.
“It got me thinking how cool it was that Eastern Market is tied to the family and the history of the company,” said Meldrum. “Christina and I always wanted to do something together. She had worked in the restaurant industry and our business is tied to food and family. It all made sense and everything came together.”
Strauss Brothers offers three small batch seasoning blends: Eastern Market Heat, Eastern Market Bold Beef and Eastern Market GPS (Garlic, Pepper, Salt). The products were launched at the Lipari Food Show in Novi in March, and are now available in 11 states. Local retailers include Papa Joe’s, Westborn Market, Randazzo Fresh Market and Village Market. Initial sales and customer feedback have been encouraging.
The goal is to expand the product line and have a brick-and-mortar side to the business. Parrott and Meldrum also plan to establish The Tommy Fund in memory of her father to benefit other local charities and support those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
Their strong bond offers a solid foundation. “It’s really about our family and the love we have for each other,” said Meldrum, who has also taken some good business advice along the way. “We wanted to figure out how to do what you like and figure out how to make money doing it.”
This is definitely a family affair. “Our dad is no longer with us, but I think he would have loved to continue if he could, and our grandfather is so proud,” said Parrott. “The recipes we make with the seasonings are derived from the meals my grandmother cooked. We made them more adaptable for everyone today, but they came from her kitchen and our Sunday dinners.”
Despite the fact that they are just getting started, Parrott and Meldrum are already looking ahead. “It’s been a really positive experience, from the reaction to the support,” she said. “We are hoping it will carry on with our children and my sisters’ children. We all eat together and test out recipes. We’re really looking forward for the family.”
Story: Jeanine Matlow
Photo: Mackenzie O'Brien