For more than 30 years, local Merced resident Justina Sabala, always had the vision of being an entrepreneur.

“I learned at a young age, it began with my family being in the flea market business,” says Justina

“Back in the 70’s,  I would put a sign out in front of our house that read “Organic Corn”. We lived on Lake Road in Merced and we would get a lot of traffic due to the lake.”

“I just loved to sell, I was good at” it, says Justina

“I ended up becoming a nursing assistant for a couple years, but I found out I didn’t like working those hours, I didn’t like people telling me these are the hours you needed to work. I didn’t like that, so I just decided to start my own business.”

Justina started her first business at the flea market when she was 22,  she would get up about 4:00 am, because the spots were first come first serve, She would do that for about five years.

Justina would go on selling novelties, body jewelry and t-shirts, the money was good, but as the years went on it became popular and everyone was selling those items.

“They were looking for a distributor for Buffalo Bobs in California. I decided to buy a sample pack and would give the jerky to my existing customers, from my other business that I had.”

“I  ended up traveling to stores in Mariposa and the Sonora area, the people that worked their said I was selling at the wrong season, because the tourist come in April, I said ok, I’ll be back next year. So I ended up coming back a year later. They said ok, you came back, will give it a try.”

“I started traveling to Nevada City, where I found out people loved jerky they would buy several at a time. A customer recommended having a poster by my product, so I had a poster made, but if you purchased the posters in bulk it would be cheaper. So I bought the bulk and put them at all the locations I sold at. I started to get call backs from the businesses saying they were out. I then decided to buy more posters and put them in all of the stores and thats how my business started.”

Justina told Merced Daily she was inspired to grow her business more by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.”They believed in the product” says, Justina.  Justina would go on to sell beyond the Central Valley and end up selling all through California.

Justina now has more than 200 accounts from different stores, but starting January, 2020 she could possibly loose 50% of her profits due to a new law preventing her from selling her most popular product “Gator Jerky”

Justina tells Merced Daily, She has started a petition and is trying to get the new law amended.

If you like to support Wild Game Jerky you can visit her website