TV personality Probst opens WB Twp. shop

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First Posted: 1/26/2015

Local business man and outdoor television personality Alan Probst is taking his brand, “Wild Pennsylvania,” one step further by opening a jerky and cheese store in Wilkes-Barre Township.

By combining his love of the outdoors with a desire to provide a healthy high-quality product and fund his charity program Feed the Hungry, Probst opened Wild Pennsylvania Beef Jerky and Cheese Shop at 258 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., across from Applebees, in Wilkes-Barre Township late last year.

His business carries a variety of smoked jerky including, beef, venison, turkey, elk, buffalo, kangaroo and alligator, plus a selection of Wisconsin cheeses.

Packaged in clear plastic, customers can see the quality of the meats firsthand. Probst pointed out the lack of fat on the meat.

“It is all trimmed,” Probst, of Bear Creek, said.

Probst said he searched to find a manufacturer who could provide products to fit his requirements, which include using only free range cattle and being made in the United States.

“I won’t put my name on something I don’t believe in,” Probst said.

The interest in jerky has been growing in the United States. In October, USA Today reported the sale of jerky products was a $1.24 billion industry in 2013.

The driving force behind the growing interest in dried meats is part of an increasing trend to eat healthy by choosing low-calorie, low fat foods. Probst is hoping the high-protein product will find a niche with cyclists, hikers, campers and with everyday people.

The business has a unique business plan to contribute a portion of its proceeds to Probst’s charity fund, Feed the Hungry, which is a self-funded program to provide meals or money to those in need.

“Currently, the store is providing two percent of its proceeds to Feed the Hungry,” Probst said. “The percentage will increase as the business grows.”

Last year, Feed the Hungry provided 3,000 meals and he was able to donate $500 to each of the following soup kitchens: Bellefonte Community Program in State College, Downtown Daily Bread in Harrisburg, St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre and Jubilee Soup Kitchen in Pittsburgh.

“This year my aim is to provide 10,000 meals,” Probst said.

Probst said he has not advertised his business much yet, but that has not stopped people from finding him.

Jerry Niznik of Wilkes-Barre said his co-workers at Sapa Extruder Inc. in Mountain Top were talking about an advertisement they saw in the Weekender. Niznik, a hunter and fisherman, thought he would check out the business.

“This is beautiful,” he said. “It (the store) is bigger than I thought.”