Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Customers are the 'backbone' of Blue Bird Locker

Gary Roth cuts up a side of beef at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)1 / 20
Gary Roth, manager at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont, and owner Bill Bietz look up how a cow is to be cut up while Terry Freier wraps another order of beef for a customer. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 20
Owner Bill Bietz helps a customer at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)3 / 20
Gary Roth, manager at Blue Bird Locker in Delmonth, brings out a side of beef from the cooler to be cut. (Matt Gade / Republic)4 / 20
German Sausage is the most popular item at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont, according to owner Bill Bietz. (Matt Gade / Republic)5 / 20
In Delmont there are two points of interest in the town, the Onion House and Blue Bird Locker. Both are located next door to each other on West Main Street. (Matt Gade / Republic)6 / 20
Gary Roth, manager at Blue Bird Locker in Delmonth, takes an order over the phone. (Matt Gade / Republic)7 / 20
Bill Bietz, owner of Blue Bird Locker in Delmont, uses a saw to cut through a side of beef. (Matt Gade / Republic)8 / 20
Gary Roth, manager at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont, pulls out a side of beef from the cooler to be cut. (Matt Gade / Republic)9 / 20
Gary Roth, manager at Blue Bird Locker in Delmonth, and owner Bill Bietz talk about an order taken over the phone. (Matt Gade / Republic)10 / 20
Terry Freier prints up a label for beef liver at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)11 / 20
Bill Bietz cleans his hands while walking to the front of his business, Bluebird Locker in Delmont, to help with a customer. (Matt Gade / Republic)12 / 20
Gary Roth cuts into a slab of beef at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)13 / 20
Gary Roth carries a portion of a side of beef to be cut into smaller pieces at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)14 / 20
Terry Freier wraps up chopped beef at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)15 / 20
Bill Bietz cuts up slices of meat at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)16 / 20
Blue Bird Locker is located on the 200 block of West Main Street in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)17 / 20
Sides of beef and pork hang inside the meat locker at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)18 / 20
Terry Freier wraps up beef liver at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)19 / 20
Sides of beef and pig hang inside the meat locker at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. (Matt Gade / Republic)20 / 20

DELMONT — Bill Bietz prides himself and his business on customer service.

For 49 years, Bietz has worked at Blue Bird Locker in Delmont. And for more than a decade, he's been the owner of the butcher shop, and he said it's the customers and his employees who have made the business successful.

"It's been a super business. The customers have been outstanding. They're the backbone of what we do," said Bietz, a 1989 Delmont High School graduate and now-Parkston resident. "Seeing them come in with a smile on their face and meeting them, talking with them and seeing how they're doing in terms of the production of their farm life is going. Just being able to custom cut whatever they need."

The locker, which employs 10 to 12 full- and part-time employees, has always been a family-owned business.

Bietz purchased the shop from his father Ervin, who was looking to retire. And although Ervin may now be retired, that doesn't keep him from continuing to help out at the shop.

"He's 75, still comes in three hours a day or four hours a day in the morning early and kind of puts things together. He's got his routine. We've been working together quite awhile," Bietz said.

Particularly known for its German sausage sold in 15 area grocery stores, Blue Bird Locker has handled a variety of animals throughout the years, including buffalo. But it usually sticks to cattle, hogs and sheep.

"We kind of limit to those three items. With the inspection program, it just gets very hard to continue to do what you used to do 20 years ago," Bietz said, adding that it helps keep a fresh inventory fully supplied at the locker.

The locker slaughters on Tuesdays and Fridays, handling about 15 to 20 head of cattle and hogs each week. Bietz said the locker is typically booked out two to three months year round.

"We schedule them like you would schedule a visit to the dentist. Obviously, our fall season is busier than the summer," Bietz said, noting he has customers who come from Nebraska and Iowa, and as far west as Bonesteel.

Being able to interact and serve his customers is the best part of the business for Bietz.

"We want to make an imprint on the town here. I love what I do. It's making products, people bring in their own stuff. We feel we do a very good job at processing their animals and returning it back to them how they want it."

Advertisement
randomness