I n 1893, John R. Daily, with his business partner, James Walsh, opened the Union Market, a local retail meat market in Missoula, Mont. Located on Higgins Avenue, Missoula's Main Street, the market supplied local residents with fresh meat. This was the beginning of Daily's Premium Meats.

In 1899, Daily's partner retired, and Daily became the sole proprietor of the meat market and slaughterhouse. He would purchase animals from local farmers and process beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry and buffalo.

Right: Butcher John. R. Daily, right,  posed for this 1890s photograph with his Union Market partner, James Walsh, center and another local butcher, Julius Angst. Leonard Combs Collection

John R. Daily Co. forms
In 1910, the company name changed officially to the John R. Daily Co. and the business became the prominent wholesale meat processing business in the city.

The retail side of the business grew, too, and eventually included six Missoula markets, including the Union Market, Montana Market, Model Market, Palace Market, Missoula Market and the Headquarter's Store.

An early Daily's Meat Market 1900s Left: A Daily Company meat market in the early 1900s. Daily Co. Collection

By the 1920s, the John R. Daily Co. began to focus more on wholesale business and closed four retail markets. The slaughterhouse, a big brick building two miles west of Missoula, was located on Mullan Road. The same street where one of the division's two plants is located today.

Since beginning in 1893, the Daily's brand had built a reputation in western Montana as a premium supplier of processed meats including bacon, hams and sausages. In 1931, John R. Daily died, and he left behind a company that would continue to bear his name and a legacy of fine meat products.
Focus moves to wholesale products
Eventually, the John R. Daily Co. closed all of its retail stores. In 1967, the company moved all of its operations to a new plant on Mullan Road in Missoula, and in 1981, the company closed the slaughterhouse operations to focus solely on processing premium meats. Also, in the 1980s the company strategically focused on building its expertise in bacon and built the reputation as "The bacon specialists," supplying premium bacon throughout the Northwest. In 1992, a second bacon plant was opened in Salt Lake City.

Daily's and Seaboard Farms begin a relationship
Just a few years later in 1995, a new company, called Seaboard Farms, began operations as a vertically integrated pork company, and quickly built its reputation as a premium supplier of pork bellies. As one of Seaboard Farms' earliest customers, the John R. Daily Co. began to purchase zero-scribe, center-cut bellies from Seaboard Farms to produce Daily's Premium Bacon.

Daily's Precooked Bacon Line Throughout the next decade the relationship between the two companies grew stronger as Seaboard Farms established itself as a leading integrated food producer of premium fresh pork. In 2005 Daily's Premium Meats became part of that integrated food system, and Seaboard Farms changed its name to Seaboard Foods. The next year, Seaboard Foods began to market and sell fresh pork products produced at a new pork processing plant located in St. Joseph, Mo. The plant is owned and operated by Triumph Foods and the plant's producer-owners have aligned with Seaboard Foods and follow a controlled integrated pork production model similar to Seaboard Foods' Guymon, Okla., system to ensure product consistency between the two plants. Both plants supply Daily's with pork bellies for its premium bacon products. 

Daily's Premium Meats remains committed to producing premium bacon products using raw materials from the Seaboard Foods integrated system. And just as the John R. Daily Co. offered premium ham and sausage many years ago, these products are now part of the Daily's Premium Meats product line in addition to its premium bacon products.

Source: The John R. Daily Co.: Our First Century