If you’re looking for a fresh cut of meat, or a specialty food product imported from the old country, look no further than your friendly neighbourhood melting pot.
“It’s a taste of Europe on Springfield Road,” owner Lorne Minarik said recently. “We’re just trying to get out more into the communities who don’t realize what Springfield Meats is. We carry a lot of everything European.”
Springfield Meats has steadily increased its footprint at 686 Springfield Rd. since it first opened in 2001. Along with fresh cuts of quality meat, Minarik also brings in European specialty imports and fresh fish from Lake Winnipeg. In 2016, he doubled his space — then, in 2017, bought Pinchers Perogies, bringing that operation in-house.
“We just got a new steam kettle and an automated perogy machine we’re going to set up, so we’ll definitely be ramping up the perogy side of things here soon,” Minarik said.
Now, Springfield Meats has expanded once again, taking on neighbouring floorspace and is in the midst of renovating the old space, which will allow the shop to stock even more of the products customers have come to enjoy.
“We carry most of Europe right now. It’s similar to what Springfield Meats used to be, but on a grander scale,” Minarik said.
Along the way, Minarik has opened a take-out kitchen on site, which has allowed Springfield Meats to stock even more fresh, ready-to-go products.
“We make probably eight different types of soups, our schnitzels, enchiladas, burgers, sausages,” he said. “Everything’s homemade right here and we’re still a fully functional butcher’s shop, where we hand-cut everything. Our selection has just increased by that much. We have Harvest Bakery coming two or three times a week, and St. Pierre-Jolys Bakery coming twice a week baking for the shop.”
On top of all that, Springfield Meats has partnered with Dutchy’s European Market, an online source of Dutch goods, to serve the Dutch community, following the closure of the Bake Oven, a North Kildonan institution, last year.
“My whole online store is available here,” said Jerome Posthumus, Dutchy’s owner and operator. “There are a lot of Dutch, German, and Mennonite people who live in North Kildonan. There was no place else that was really available for them nearby. Now they’re able to come here and get those products. It’s been a great fit.”
“We’re not a bakery, but we’re doing as much as we can to service the Dutch community,” Minarik added. “We’ve got the dry goods, we’re cooking a lot of stuff for them.”
Currently, Springfield Meats employs between nine and 11 staff, mostly full-time. Minarik would like to hire more, though he is still considering bringing in a third party to operate the take-out kitchen.
“Then they could stay open into the evening and keep that take-out going,” he said. “That’s one of the next phases, but the kitchen is working out great so far, with the amount of ready-made food we’re able to offer. That’s value added right there. Customers are loving it.”
Springfield Meats has also become a full-on family affair, as Minarik’s son, Tyler, and daughter, Janelle, now both work full-time at the shop.
“It’s great having it more of a family business now. Hopefully I can start slowing down myself now,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s one of those things where I still enjoy it, and if my kids can take it over more and more, hopefully that becomes a passion for them as it is for me. I still have a few good years left in me.”
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time.
Email him at email@example.com
Call him at 204-697-7112