8 years later Cleveland sausage shop still suffers effects of mass murderer Anthony Sowell

Family-owned business, Ray's Sausage still reeling from Anthony Sowell murders
Published: Nov. 1, 2017 at 3:57 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2017 at 4:42 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ray's Sausage is a family-owned business that sat next door to the home of Anthony Sowell, where 11 murdered women were found buried.

In 2009 the business was wrongly accused of creating the smells that actually were coming from Sowell's home.

Ray was forced to tear out and replace sewer at great cost and for no good reason.

There was talk of the city of Cleveland helping with a relocation and expansion.

So, what's up?

Mayor Frank Jackson visited Ray's in 2009 during the Sowell investigation.

At the time Ray had asked for the Mayor to come see his situation.

"So he came up here and said, well it looks like you got your wish," says Ray.

Ray told us the Mayor promised help with a different wish: finding a bigger location for a new plant.

We went back 4 years later in 2013 for an update on a new plant and Ray recovering out of pocket costs for the unneeded sewer repairs.

Nothing had happened and Ray described the costs.

"It was like over $80,000 and so right now we're working on pennies so we really need some help."

It has been another 4 years, so we went back this week to see where things stand.

"Nowhere, we haven't been anywhere," said Leslie Lester, Ray's daughter.

She is taking an active role in the business these days. The business was started by her grandfather and grandmother 65 years ago.  She is frustrated.

"Family owner, black operated sausage company and what do you want me to do get on my knees and beg for help."

The problem is the company has operated as a pay as you go business, it has never taken out a loan, so expansion can't happen without city help.

"When you go to the bank to get a loan, and try to get a loan you can't get a loan because you don't have any credit established with the banks because you never had to take out a loan."

Ray's 11 employees grind out thousands of pounds of sausage and souse meat continually, but Leslie has continued with doubts.

Anthony Sowell's home is gone, but until Ray's is made whole Anthony Sowell's harm to the city remains.

Related Stories: Anthony Sowell convicted of murdering 11 women

Download the Cleveland 19 News app and First Alert Weather app.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.