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A slice of life: Rod’s Specialty Meats has been in the area for almost three decades

Rod Anderson, owner of Rod’s Specialty Meats, has been working in the meat industry for 60 years.

BEMIDJI -- The first time Rod Anderson worked with meat, it was an accident. But it's an accident that led to a 60-year career in the meat industry.

"I was carrying out groceries at a big supermarket and one day they said they needed somebody in the back to make ground beef and I've been there ever since," Anderson explained.

Anderson, 75, has owned Rod's Specialty Meats for the past 28 years with his wife Mary Ann.

He first moved to the Bemidji area for a job as a meat manager at local grocery store.

Throughout his career, there have been numerous changes in both the regulations of and customer preference for cuts of meat.

"We don't even size up the beef anymore, everything comes in a box," Anderson said. "We used to get big quarters of beef and carry them in."

Customers used to purchase more roasts but they have been buying more ground beef and steaks recently.

"Probably because its quicker to cook. Most people don't take the time to cook a big roast," Anderson said.

Anderson himself often cooks for his family, although he likes to keep it simple.

"I just like to make burgers on the grill," he said.

However, he often prepares samples of his products for customers. He also has a wall of pictures in the store that feature much of his family.

"I think that a lot of people like that it's a family store because they want the personal service," he said.

Anderson explained that one of the best aspects of owning his business is that he can do what he wants, but also added that he likes working with people and owning his store has allowed him to meet thousands of people.

He currently employs two other full-time workers, who often joke around.

"Those guys tell me to go home and get my beauty rest," said Anderson , who typically works 10-hour days six days a week and has no plans to quit working anytime soon.

"I always tell people that I'm going to go for as long as I can," he said.

Maggi Stivers

Maggi Stivers is a Multi-Media Journalist at the Bemidji Pioneer. She covers art and entertainment in the Bemidji area. She is a 2013 Bemidji State graduate majoring in mass communications with a minor in sociology. Contact her at (218) 333-9790 or

(218) 333-9790