Image: Mailhot Family, 1913. From left: Robert (Roger's Father); Eugene "Willie" (Roger's Grandfather); Odile (née Morris); Germaine and Varna.
"In the early years, I went out on the road a great deal. I was covering Lewiston and Auburn. One truck. And I said, 'Why should I be selling Jordan's items which we made probably ten cents on the pound, still sold enough of the stuff, you paid your own salary? Why should I be doing this when I could go out and sell Mailhot's products in French centers?'
"So I went out and went to Biddeford. I was probably still in my twenties. I went out in Biddeford, I went to Sanford, I went to Augusta, to Waterville and ...where I felt was French people, Brunswick. At first, in the state. And then when Federal inspection came in says, hey, I know where there's a great big city. Not too far away, it's all French, and that's Manchester. So I headed for Manchester and on the way hey, I found other places, you know, Somersworth, Rochester, large French populations."
Roger Mailhot (b. Lewiston, 1934) inherited Mailhot's Sausage Company from his father, Robert. Roger's grandfather, Eugene William "Willie" Mailhot began the business in 1910, having gotten his culinary experience working for Philippe Dupont in the Dupont Bakery in Auburn. Mailhot's Sausage continues to be well-known for traditional Franco-American meat products - boudin (blood sausage) and cretons (pork spread).
In this interview, recorded April 22, 1994, Roger Mailhot talks to Don Dufour about his family business; its origins, his role at the company, and what he says for its future.