—by Todd Thorson

For many of us, the convenience of buying meat products has always been to go to the local grocery store. And buying in bulk or finding that elusive specialty item is usually not even considered when one walks up to the meat counter. The days of the old butcher shops have even come and gone. But various locker facilities do still exist around the Story City area (Williams, Stanhope, Nevada and Boone), but those facilities lack the convenience when it comes to distance from home. That will all change this fall when The Story City Locker will open at a new site located just west of Story City Building Products on West Broad Street.

Ty and Bobbie Jo Gustafson of Story City plan to open a small meat processing facility this fall, as their dream became a reality following council approval earlier this month and the subsequent ground breaking ceremonies held last Friday morning at the site of a new 4,750 square foot building.

With the help and support of the local community, The Story City Greater Chamber Connection and the Story City Economic Development Corporation, the Gustafsons will now be able to meet the growing demand for small-scale, inspected meat processing. They will also support sustainable, local food supply concepts and will provide customers quality meat products in a safe environment. This project is also expected to create approximately five to nine new jobs in Story City over the next three years.

According to the Gustafsons, consumers are paying increased attention to the food they eat, more than ever before. Locally produced meat products differ from products sold through national and international markets because of their local, artisan flavor, and the personal relationships that a local meat processor can afford to have with local farmers and its customers. The new locker facility will process beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry and deer.

"We believe that sustainable farming practices and regional food-supply systems improve quality of life in a broad way," said owner Ty Gustafson. "We’re happy to be opening a business that will prioritize sustainable concepts. We’ll continue to learn and improve on our stewardship of locally raised livestock from groups like the Iowa Meat Processors Association, Practical Farmers of Iowa and The Butcher’s Guild. And happily, we’re on track with the Animal Welfare Approved organization to become a recommended AWA processing facility once operational."

Construction is expected to begin shortly and be completed sometime this fall. A soft opening for custom processing services will precede a grand opening by approximately a month, and will include the retail butchery start up. For more information visit the website at www.storycitylocker.com. The Gustafsons can also be reached at 515/733-6328.

"We are grateful for the efforts of all who supported this project. Story City’s diverse representatives, the Iowa State University Extension and Meat Laboratory, and relative State of Iowa leaders have been enthusiastic, influential and great to work with," added Gustafson.