By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
A local business has gained another level of fame with WCCO’S “Best of Minnesota” series.
Thielen Meats of Pierz was voted as the “Best Butcher Shop in Minnesota” with the clip aired on the 10 p.m. news, Thursday, on WCCO Channel 4.
Joe Thielen, who co-owns the 93-year-old business with his brothers, Matt and Andy, said WCCO called with the news Wednesday, showed up Wednesday afternoon and spent a couple of hours at the store. Matt and Andy were gone, so Joe said, “I was the lucky one.”
The WCCO crew learned of the Thielen Meats history: Joe’s great-grandfather Phil Thielen built the original market in 1922, in the back of Thielen’s Furniture Store on Pierz Main Street (now Kurtz Furniture).
When Joe’s grandparents, Junior and Dorothy purchased it in the 1960s, they built the current store just a little farther north on the same block.
Joe’s parents, Keith and Renee Thielen, bought the store from Dorothy in about 2000.
Joe said he, Matt and Andy have worked at the store for 15 years. For the past few years, their dad, Keith, had them doing more.
In January, the brothers took over ownership.
“Dad let us do most of the running of the store the last few years, so it was a pretty smooth transition,” said Joe.
Known for its home-smoked sausage, meats, thick bacon and more, Thielen’s is a must-stop not only for the locals, but for travelers going up north during the summer months.
Joe said, as he understood it, WCCO had six finalists for its “Best Butcher Shop in Minnesota” segment.
“Once they had it narrowed down to six, people were able to vote,” said Joe. He said WCCO Reporter Natalie Nyhus told them they were the clear winner.
The Thielen Meats staff treated Nyhus and her camera man to a tour of the building, shared the history of the store and gave a demonstration of how some of the meat is prepared.
As an extra treat, “We sent them home with a little care package and fried up some bacon while they were here,” Joe said.
As for the attention, “I never would have guessed that this would happen,” said Joe. “It’s pretty incredible.
“We would definitely like to thank all of our customers,” said Joe. “It was actually amazing to see how many people were willing to vote for us and it really just feels great to win the award.”