Thielen Meats of Little Falls is a family run meat market in it’s 4th generation and was founded by John Thielen and wife Linda (Winzenburg). The couple currently own and operate the business along with their two children. Though officially opening the doors in 1990, the legacy of Thielen Meats began nearly 70 years earlier.
John’s love of the meat business began as a boy. He grew up in a small meat shop established in 1922 by his grandparents, Phil and Cora Thielen. The business operated in the back of a furniture store until John’s parents, Lerald and Dorothy, eventually took over and built where Thielen Meats of Pierz currently operates and resides.
When John was 12 years old he joined the family business as the 3rd generation. His first jobs were as a bacon slicer and cleanup boy (two jobs he still holds to this day)! By the age of 15, he was relied upon to do product purchasing while his father was away on hunting trips. He fondly remembers his father’s advice to never under order product and that he would “never get yelled at for ordering too much!” It was this trust from his father that made John realize he would forever work in the meat business.
In 1977, just days before John and Linda’s wedding, John’s father passed unexpectedly. Despite this devastation, the family pulled together to keep the business operating. Along with his Mother and Brother, John carried on his father’s legacy until 1989. Then, with the support of his mother, he followed in his father’s footsteps by building his own meat market.
When Thielen Meats of Little Falls opened its doors in November, John’s dreams of owning his very own business were fulfilled. Longtime friends and employees, Jerry Langer and Dave Jansen, accompanied John from Thielen Meats in Pierz to begin his new endeavor in Little Falls. It was their support that helped John through the challenges of building a business from the ground up. He ran his business with the same model and principles that his father had taught him; treat your employees well, and always put the customers first!
Thielen Meats of Little Falls continues to maintain the same principles, recipes, and processes that John learned as a boy and is now passing along to his children. Michael Thielen and Jessica Thielen have joined the family tradition as the 4th generation in the meat business. With an outpouring of community support, the business has grown from 10 employees to over 25 and has since expanded three times!