Eye on KELOLAND: A history for slicing up meat in a small town

Eye on KELOLAND

DELMONT, S.D. (KELO) – Nestled in a small, eastern South Dakota town sits a shop with a history of carving up meat for its community and beyond. While many businesses have come and gone there, this one is standing strong.

In Delmont, South Dakota, sits the Blue Bird Locker — a local butcher shop that has cut itself up a pretty good reputation.

“We butcher cattle and hogs and sheep,” Bill Bietz, owner of the Blue Bird Locker said. “It’s basically from the farm to the table. We make hundreds of products ranging anywhere from pork to beef to sheep. We make product with cheese. It’s never ending, we’re always coming up with something new.”

But the most popular item off the chopping block? Delmont German Sausage.

“It’s probably something that people’s grandparents had when they were back in the day and I think it’s just evolved from that and people haven’t gotten away from it yet,” Bietz said. “It’s just our number one seller.”

“A lot of people come, bring their coolers and load up on meat,” Dick Strid, a long-time Delmont resident said. “Not only sausage, they buy other meats, ground beef and whatever. It is a good locker. They have good meat.”

Bill Bietz took over the locker from his dad in 2009, who bought it in 1969, but the story goes back even further. Bietz attributes the long-standing history to the customers.

“Small towns are absolutely wonderful, the community really pitches in and helps out,” Bietz said. “The surrounding towns also really, really help out, we all kind of stick together. It’s just been a wonderful business to be in.”

“We don’t have a grocery store anymore so it’s nice to have a locker where you can get your meat here and so on,” Strid said.

The Blue Bird Locker has been slicing up meat for the Delmont community since 1944. But it’s not just people in this area that enjoy their famous German Sausage or Delmont brats.

“We’re at least a hundred-mile radius from Nebraska, Minnesota. We even have people from Colorado, California, I mean, kind of all over,” Bietz said.

“I know there’s always people here I see that are new that I haven’t seen before,” Strid said.

“Yeah, every year it gets a little bigger, gets a little bit more known, yeah, it’s been real busy,” Bietz said.

Bietz says his employees are a big part of that success.

“I think it’s just a good quality workmanship that we give to the customers, good quality products, you know,” Bietz said. “We try to keep the very best that we can have here and sell to the customers.”

The Blue Bird Locker has a savory history with room to grow.

“We’re expanding a little bit, we’ve added some new equipment, running a little more state-of-the-art, trying to get our products further out to more areas, maybe even across state lines,” Bietz said. “So, yeah, I mean, the future definitely looks good.”

A future customers hope to enjoy for generations to come.

The Blue Bird Locker has kept its name since 1944 because the building was constructed with the word ‘Bluebird’ carved into it.

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