The Parks Sausage Company was founded in 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1969, Parks Sausage became the first African-American-owned firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Starting in 1977, ownership changed hands several times before a brief shutdown in 1996.
Between 1951 and 1977, Parks Sausage Company never posted a losing year. Company sales reached a record $14 million in 1976. Starting in 1954, the company gained recognition for its famous advertising slogan, More Park Sausages Mom, please.
In 1977, Norin Corporation bought a 95 percent controlling stake in the company. After a few turbulent years under Norins control, a team of investors led by the father and son Raymond and Reginald Haysbert bought back controlling interest. In 1990, two NFL football stars, Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell, bought the company and unsuccessfully attempted to revive the brand. The company shut down in 1996 due to severe financial problems. By 1999, the company sold off its sausage factory to Philadelphia-based investors.
Parks Sausage Company became an iconic brand, with much attention paid to the company's entrepreneurial founder, Henry Parks, who built the company during a turbulent period in U.S. race relations. In 2010, Black Enterprise magazine named Henry Parks one of the Top 40 most influential black business leaders of the past 40 years.