Meeting demand for meat: local meat locker expands during pandemic
Bronson locker expands to keep up with increased demand.
BRONSON, Kan. – Hidden away in a southeast Kansas town of around 300 people with hardly a business in site is a shop where the emphasis is family.
“We’re a family business, and we have been since we started,” says Helen Bolling.
Bronson locker is a family owned and operated meat processing facility in Bronson, Kansas in Bourbon County.
Owners Helen and Raymond (Chubb) Bolling say in the more than 50 years that they’ve been providing farm to table meats to the community they’ve seen a lot of change.
“In the early 60s when the big stores came in, the little stores went out. And it has been a hardship on some people,” says Helen Bolling.
But since the pandemic hit – like so many other meat processors – they’ve seen another change that’s a lot more positive. Demand has gone through the roof.
“The business has grown so fast that it’s hard to accommodate so much,” says Helen. “We’re booked up like clear up to 2022.”
To better meet that increased demand, they’ve done a big expansion. It includes a whole new cutting area, a new secondary cooler, and around a dozen more staff — most of them being family.
“We had to work out the kinks, but we’re getting better all the time,” explains Jesse Kuns, one of the meat cutters at the locker. “Learned different things to help the flow where we can cut more meat and still getting better all the time.”
“Before all this happened, a busy day for us was maybe 10 beef. That was really busy. One day a week ten beef, maybe a couple hogs,” says Garrett Ericson, one of the butchers at the locker. “And now it’s 10 beef, ten hogs three days a week. So we’re pushing 40 fifty head a week.”
Now that they can process more meat than ever because of all the expansion, they want to show their appreciation for the community that has supported them to this point, and help get great meat on their tables more than ever before.
“You can see there’s not much here in town, but it does help,” says Helen. “They can come in and they can buy meat out of our showcase and they don’t have to drive 20 miles. It’s just been a good thing.”
The meat locker has appointments on the books through the end of the year, but they say it’s not uncommon to fit someone in that’s on their waiting list. So they encourage anyone that’s wanting to get their beef or pork processed to call, and they’ll see what they can do to help.
They are also one of the last processors in the county that’s USDA certified — meaning they can sell to people across state lines.
The locker is located at 504 Clay Street in Bronson.
For people discouraged about the waiting list for beef appointments…
It is always a good idea to get on them and call…
The family is also venturing into another business entirely. They’ve started an antiques and furniture store right next door to the locker.