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Jeniece Kimminau owned the Doniphan Herald in 2003 when she received an ad for a meat locker for sale in Cordova, Neb.

Little did she know that the sale ad would change her entire future.

“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,” Jeniece Kimminau said. “The rest is history and here we are today, living the dream.”

Al’s entrepreneurial ambitions began more than 40 years ago, during his teen years. He first worked in the grocery store meat department in Lawrence, Neb., and later at Bauman’s in Fairfield, Neb., alongside his high school sweetheart, Jeniece.

It was only after having their children Drew and Alison that Jeniece took a break from working in the meat industry with Al — though not for long. Today, the entire family works together at Cordova Locker, and they are motivated to serve customers across Nebraska and beyond.

“We started with one part-time employee and we now have five full-time,” Al said of their growth.

Those five full-time employees include Drew and Alison, as well as Fredy, Marco, and Brandon. Forever in their hearts is also Lorraine Zastrow, who developed the Cordova Locker logo.

“Our logo? It’s over there,” Kimminau motioned to an old cow bell that hangs over the shop 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 founded in 1946 by Lorraine and Harry Noler. Since taking on ownership, the Kimminaus have expanded the retail portion and more than doubled the hog and beef butchering business for Cordova Locker.

Kimminau 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. There are other special, surprise options available for customers who watch the Cordova Locker Facebook page closely.

“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,” Kimminau said. “We also have plans to expand the slaughter area and pens in the future.”

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 Kimminau added.

“Our employees are good, honest, hardworking people and without them we would not be able to continue our business the way we are,” he said. “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.”

His wife echoed those sentiments.

“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.”

Kerry Hoffschneider can be reached at kerry.hoffschneider@midwestmessenger.com.