WATERLOO, Neb. (KMTV) — When life gives you lemons, you know the rest - you make lemonade. That's exactly what one local farmer did. In today's "Shop The Heartland For The Holidays" report, Serese Cole shows us how a family farm's financial hit during the pandemic lead to a new beginning and a brand new business.
When it comes to chicken, Dean Dvorak knows his stuff.
He's raised, processed and distributed chickens for 20 years. The bulk of his business was local grocery stores and restaurants. The bird business was good business - until the pandemic.
His profit plummeted.
"We had to try to do something to maintain the family farm business," said Dean Dvorak, owner of Plum Creek Farms Countryside Market.
So, he did.
He created a new business in the middle of a pandemic - the Plum Creek Farms Countryside Market.
Now he can sell his chickens and help other small business owners, too.
"I just contacted people I knew and started going to them and saying we'd like to carry some of your stuff," Dvorak explained.
He reached out to a woman in Beatrice who makes fun tea towels.
Then he contacted a small business owner in Falls City who makes candles.
And an Omaha restaurant he's done business with for years now makes the soup of the week for his store.
What makes this countryside market so unique is 99% of the products sold inside the store are local - made in Nebraska.
"The beef and the eggs are all from our farm," Dvorak told a customer.
The store has only been open since October, but the word is getting out.
"We, for the last couple of months, have been trying to find places that have local farms and local sources. And I feel like with everything - these big-box retailer prices are going up and the quality is going down," said first-time shopper Stasia Johnson.
"We've got to support or local economy. They're fighting hard, and it's our job to keep them in business," she added.
Dean is thankful for each customer who stops in his chicken and more store.
"If you don't support local stuff and you just support big business with big companies - you kind of lose the flavor of the town to me," Dvorak said.
Coming from someone who knows a little about flavor...
"People ask us why it tastes different... I just say we don't do anything to it," Dvorak said
A lot about chickens...
"We don't inject it with any type of brine solution - so there's not the extra sodium and stuff which is in most chicken brands," said Dvorak.
And now - knows how to run his own town and country store.
You can find the Plum Creek Farms Countryside Market right on the edge of Waterloo, Nebraska on 269th and West Center Road. The store is open Wednesday through Saturday.