Warren Terpstra and heirs of his grandfather, A. P. “Tone” Vander Beek, had owned the Community Lockers in Sully for nearly 66 years when effective Sept. 14, 2012, the business was sold to a new family, Jared and Stacey Nikkel of Sully who will operate it as Sully Community Locker, Inc.

About the sale of the business, Terpstra said, “I feel tickled to death because from the day I bought it, I thought I’d be the one to close it because so many area towns had a locker but most of them are closed now. The fact that it’s going to stay open pleases me very much. And the quality of the people taking it over pleases me very much, too.”

For Nikkel, age 35, owning the locker is “a dream come true for me.” After college, he was in law enforcement for 11 years, spent two years as a missionary in Haiti, and moved back home to Sully in June 2011 and worked building grain bins. Now he is owner of Sully Community Locker, Inc. “I’ve cut meat for fun—deer, hogs, and beef—and a long time ago had the idea I’d like to run this place,” Nikkel said, explaining he grew up as a neighbor to the late Claris Van Genderen who worked at the locker “forever.” When Nikkel asked Terpstra if the locker was for sale, Terpstra said, “Look at me and my age, and you know it’s for sale.”

“We’re not going to change much,” Nikkel said. “It’s been a business for a long time. I love the idea of owning a local business and will continue this long-time tradition and keep things the way they are now. How much support and how many people this business serves makes me feel good and we want to keep that going. We might expand the retail area some time in the future.”

The Nikkels are the parents of Will, who is 10, Natalie, who is 8, and a baby due in December . Stacey plans to help with wrapping, packaging, and the bookkeeping. “I want to be an expert in meat cutting,” Jared said. Will is already dreaming about operating the locker some day, too.

Terpstra has worked at the locker for half of its 66 years of existence. “We were in Marshalltown and wanted to raise our kids in a small town and decided to give the locker a try, not so much that I wanted to be in the meat business but that opportunity was available with my dad and his family so we moved back to Sully,” Terpstra said. “It just doesn’t seem possible to me that it’s been that long.” He was employed at the locker from 1979 until 1984 when he purchased the 5/8 of the business owned by his father, the late Nelson Terpstra.

Terpstra has had nine partners because at his age he didn’t want to buy the 3/8 of the business owned by the heirs of his deceased aunt Verna Elscott and uncle Abe Vander Beek along with his aunt Sylvia Van Genderen, now of Newton, who began working in the business at age 16. “The family partnership has been very, very good for me,” Terpstra said. Terpstra and his wife Alma have agreed to help the Nikkels for a year.

“I hope longer than a year, I need something to do and would like to help as long as I’m able,” Terpstra said. “I can tell already it’s going to be a little strange, even difficult, realizing I don’t have to check the locker at 8:30 at night. I won’t miss my worry about the refrigeration working as that was stressful for me,” Terpstra said. “If it failed, so much meat would be lost. We’ve had some close calls and drove through the night to get parts once.”

The Terpstras hope to have more time to spend with their two daughters and their grandchildren: Jenny and Roger Tillmann, Curtis, and Allison of Columbia, SC, and Amy and Brian Opensky and Emily of Chicago.

Terpstra said the best part of the business has been “living in this town and our really great customers we’ve been so blessed to work with. I really like Saturdays because I get to visit with customers. Also, if we make a mistake here, they don’t go off the handle but allow us to fix it. We have customers from the Des Moines area, down south, and many miles away because there are so few lockers left.”

Sully Community Locker, Inc., located at 407 7th Ave. in Sully, is a full-service meat locker specializing in cured meats, dried beef, homemade tube bologna and quarter-pound wieners, fresh beef and pork butchering, packaging, and selling. “We freeze to please” is their slogan for customers who bring their animals to be butchered and have it cut and packaged to their specifications. The Sully Community Locker, Inc.’s phone number is 641-594-4240.


Jared and Stacey Nikkel, the new owners, say thank you:

"We would like to say a very sincere and public thank you to Warren and Alma Terpstra. The level of concern and integrity you brought to the process of changing ownership at Sully Community Locker made the process a great experience. We look forward to continuing to work with you at the locker for as long as you will stay. The community of Sully has been blessed by the service provided by your family for the past 66 years and we will strive to honor all that hard work by running the locker with the same values.

"We would also like to thank the Sully Development Committee and the City of Sully for their work to help keep local businesses going and keep local jobs. Your work is essential and much appreciated.

"Thanks also to First State Bank for their enthusiastic support of all things local, especially their investment in local business and jobs. Lastly, we would like to thank the whole community of Sully for all of the encouraging words and support we’ve received throughout the process of purchasing the locker. We look forward to serving you for a long time to come."