By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN At Rieder Meat Market in Delano, not much has changed in 100 years, and that’s a good thing.
“We do it the old-fashioned way,” owner Laurence “Bud” Rieder, Jr. said, pointing out his handwritten orders, steaks cut to customer preference, and a wooden desk in the corner that’s been around for at least 70 years.
The classic meat market, located at 150 River St. N., was owned by Speckel and Schaust until 1901, when a man named Herman Adler purchased it.
August Shilling later bought the business, and partnered with Bud’s grandfather, Leonard Rieder, Oct. 26, 1911.
Since then, meat markets have played a pivotal role in the Rieder family heritage.
Bud’s father, Laurence, Sr., took over when he was old enough, and the other Rieder brothers had shops in Watertown and Buffalo for awhile.
“If you were a cow in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and you heard the name ‘Rieder,’ you were probably shaking,” Bud joked.
When Bud was a young teen, he started helping out at the market to earn extra money.
After high school, he attended St. Cloud State University for marketing, hoping to obtain a career in sales or business.
However, in 1976, Bud’s father died unexpectedly in a car accident.
“I had just graduated,” Bud recalled. “I came back in a hurry.”
Since then, Bud and his mother, Betty, have kept the family business going.
Old and new faces
“We get quite a few repeat customers,” part-time employee Teresa Schumm said.
Bud looks forward to seeing former residents who return to Delano for family gatherings.
“This will be the first stop they make when they get here, and the last one before they leave,” he said.
Several generations also visit the shop.
Sometimes, small children will leave fingerprints on the glass case or jump on the low countertop by the window, but Bud doesn’t mind.
“I don’t want to say anything to offend them,” he smiled. “Those are my future customers.”
Emily Larson has been visiting Rieder’s Meat Market since she was a child. Now, her own children come to the shop with her.
“I place a huge order every six months,” Larson said.
When she was in Iraq for military service, Rieder’s Meat Market was one place she missed.
“Beef is not that good over there,” she said.
Freshness is one reason why meat tastes better at Rieder’s, according to Bud.
“In the grocery store, everything tastes the same,” he said. “They don’t usually process it there.”
At Rieder’s however, meat is often cut when the customer arrives.
“For t-bone steaks, we have customers who want it a quarter-inch thick, and others who want it 2-and-a-half-inches thick,” Bud said. “We cut it when you’re here, to make sure it’s the right thickness.”
Years ago, many farmers took meat to Rieder’s for processing. Now, the majority of the customers are families who enjoy high-quality meat and old-fashioned service.
The retail meat market offers summer sausage, wieners, and ham smoked in its own smoke house, as well as an assortment of pork chops, steaks, hamburgers, bacon, and other traditional selections.
Bud’s son, Eric, is studying mechanical engineering at North Dakota State University, and enjoys earning extra money at the market during the summer
Eric, 19, and his brother, Andy, 16, are the fourth generation of Rieders to have worked in the Delano meat market.
As for Bud’s future plans, he said he likes to take things as they come.
“I never did worry too much about the future,” he said. “It takes care of itself.”