By the time they were ready to start the project, someone had already started building a locker plant in Moline. That led them to Byron Center, where they purchased a lot for $300 and built Byron Center Locker Plant, which opened for business in April 1946. The plant had a total of 650 lockers that were rented for $1 per month. The plant also had a cooler where farmers could bring their beef and pork to be cut and packaged for 4 cents per pound and stored in their frozen food locker. It wasn’t long before they were also packaging fresh meat cuts to be sold to the public from fresh meat cases.
Gerald and Gert had six children and this could truly be called a family business as all six worked in the plant from time to time sweeping the floor, etc. The business would not be the size or success it is today had it not been for all the hard work and the long hours, days and nights put in by the whole family. This business also provided employment to many community people over the years; they too had a part in its success in serving the people of Byron Center and the surrounding community.
It wasn’t too long after being in business that the invention of the home freezer was introduced. This had the prophets of doom forecasting the death of locker plants. In reality, it was the best thing that could have happened as all those home freezers needed to be filled with beef and pork, which was processed at the locker plants.