Despite ever-present challenges, there are also so many examples of going for your dreams in the world today.
This is one of them that is unfolding locally. Their story is a reminder to allow ourselves to remember our personal dreams and pursue them with passion.
Jeniece Kimminau owned the Doniphan Herald in 2003 when she received an ad for a meat locker for sale in Cordova, “I showed it to my husband Al and we decided to check it out since it had always been Al’s dream to own his own locker. The rest is history and here we are today, living the dream.”
Al’s dream began more than 40 years ago as a teenager in Lawrence, Neb. in the grocery store meat department. Jeniece and Al are high school sweethearts and they later worked together in the meat industry at Bauman’s in Fairfield, Neb. It was only after having their three children – Josh, Drew and Alison, that Jeniece took a break from working alongside her husband (but not for long). Today, two of their children work with them as well and an expanded team motivated to serve customers across Nebraska and beyond.
“We started with one part-time employee and we now have five full-time,” Al explained.
Today, those employees include their grown children, Alison and Drew, along with Fredy, Marco and Brandon. Forever in their hearts is also Lorraine Zastrow, who developed the Cordova Locker logo. “Our logo? It’s over there,” Jeniece motioned to an old cow bell that hangs over the door. “Lorraine started that because cows had bells long ago. She worked at the locker for 40 years and just passed away this year.”
The Cordova Locker was started in 1946 by Lorraine and Harry Noler. Today, the Kimminaus have expanded the retail portion and more than doubled the hog and beef butchering business since they started. Jeniece also said they have added two smoke houses and make many various homemade products, including 35 different brats of all kinds – from jalapeno to mac n’ cheese.
They also have all sorts of cheeses, beef sticks, thick-sliced bacon, homemade hot dogs and other specialty meat cuts for sale and even some fish. Al recently made Jaternice, a Czech-style sausage.
“We have also remodeled and added on several other parts of the business throughout the years, with a complete remodel of the front retail area this spring. We also have plans to expand the slaughter area and pens in the future,” Jeniece noted.
The couple said they thoroughly enjoy providing a service for people. “It is important to us to be able to provide quality, wholesome meat to our customers,” Al said. “We have enjoyed meeting people from all over the United States, even a few from other countries, when they have stopped into our locker.”
It really is about the people for the Kimminaus – customers and employees, Al added, “Our employees are good, honest, hardworking people and without them we would not be able to continue our business the way we are. We value each and every one of them. Two of our employees are our children and we hope for them to continue after we are gone.
“Overall this dream has grown into a wonderful business,” Jeniece said. “We feel very blessed. We truly enjoy what we do and value our customers. Our hope is to be around for many years to come, providing quality products and workmanship, while maintaining excellent customer service.”
The Kimminaus are a great example of the endurance and commitment it takes to never give up. So, everyone out there with a dream, keep dreaming and start doing!