Client Spotlight | Polashek’s Locker
After deciding to leave his job as a grain hauler in 1983, Paul Polashek chose to buy a meat-processing locker. Paul and his wife Judy Polashek started servicing the local community with custom beef, pork, and venison processing. The business has stayed in the family ever since.
“When I was young, I was down here all the time,” Adam Polashek, Paul and Judy’s son, said. “One time when I was in Cub Scouts, we did a little tour. All of sudden Dad was like, ‘You can’t leave. You got to label bags.’ So me and another kid started labeling bags.”
As a small-town business, it’s important to take pride in it what you do so that you provide the best possible customer service. Polashek’s commitment to the customer has brought people from all over Northeast Iowa to the store.
Located in a rural area of Protivin, Iowa, Polashek’s has been a staple in the town of 300 people. Early settlers named the city after a Bohemian town in the Czech Republic. Polashek’s Locker honors this ancestry by serving a popular Czech sausage called jaternice. They claim that many people travel all over the country to purchase this unique sausage as not many meat lockers offer this product.
“He watched us make and sampled jaternice, pickled pork hocks, pickled beef tripe, and head cheese,” Adam said.
Aside from being able to visit Polashek’s Locker, customers can also find their goods in over 40 stores across Iowa.
“When you’re good at something, you’re good at it. No one is as good at it as we are,” Adam said.
Today’s consumer is also much more interested in food transparency than ever before, according to Food Safety Magazine. Customers want to know exactly where their food is coming from, how it was raised, and how it was made. Because of that desire to bridge the gap between farm and table, customers may bring in their own beef from someone they personally know, such as a local neighbor. By doing this, the customer knows exactly where it came from and how it was treated.
“It’s a big thing anymore,” Adam said. “We’ve seen a surge in business in the last five years just because people want to know where their meat came from.”
Polashek’s employs roughly a dozen employees and their most popular products are snack sticks (formerly known as hot sticks), wieners, bologna, summer sausage, and smokies.
“You know you got a family business, and you want to keep it going,” Adam said. “I guess if you keep doing what we’re doing, hopefully we will be here another 35 years.”