For 50 years

For 50 years

Penguin Meats marks major milestone

All in the family for longtime Semiahmoo Peninsula business owners

It’s long been a family affair at Penguin Meats in White Rock.

Run by four generations of the Michaluk family, Penguin Meats was first established by brothers Vic and Walt Michaluk and father Terry in October 1964 in Whalley, before moving to White Rock, at 1554 Johnston Rd., where it has flourished over the years.

This Saturday, the store will mark 50 years with a celebration at the retail store recognizing their longstanding staff and loyal customers.

The meat shop, with the signature green awning, is where Vic and wife, Irene, raised their children, including Toni, who has worked at the shop since she was a young girl.

It was there that Toni met Doug Charles, while in high school. They’ve been married for 38 years.

“He was working (there) after school,” Irene explained. “Doug went to school in White Rock and at that time, we lived in North Surrey, and that’s where Toni went to school.”

Decades later, Penguin is now where Toni’s sons, Ryan and Brody, work – in the Langley warehouse and the retail office, respectively.

The meat shop had humble beginnings, Vic said, when it was just himself, his father and his brother running a country grocery store or milking cows on the family farm where Nicowynd Golf Course is now located.

“My dad bought the farm because the Korean War had just started up, and if the Korean War was anything like Second World War or the First World War was – because he was in both – he knew the only people who had everything they needed was farmers,” he said. “The only thing they needed was sugar and coffee, the rest they had. And the sugar was used to make moonshine – very important stuff.”

Buying milking cows, however, was expensive in 1952, with one cow costing upwards of $700. Then, when they became too old to milk, the cows were sold for a fraction of that amount.

“So (my dad) said, ‘well, I know I can make better if I can make it into a sausage,’ so he bought a meat shop,” Vic laughed. “It was difficult at that time, because we were on a shoestring.

“He had a number of businesses, but his passion was food from the old country – Ukraine. A lot of the things they used to do over there, they brought with him.”

Soon, Vic’s father was introduced to two brothers who ran Penguin Delivery, and seeing the potential, invested.

However, a series of events led to Vic’s father breaking off the partnership.

“So he told them to pay him back or he’d take the property, and he ended up with the property, which he sold to Safeway (in Whalley),” Vic said.

During that transition, Vic continued to work as a pedal-truck driver for Penguin Delivery, until his father approached him with a new offer.

After acquiring a property in White Rock through a business transaction, he was hoping to open a meat shop across the street where cement bricks were being put up, and he wanted his sons to run it with him.

“I said, well, we’re doing quite well, I don’t think I want to do something like that,” Vic said. “But then he asked, what would happen if I broke my leg? Would Irene go out and look after the customers?”

“I might have,” Irene laughed.

And with that, Penguin Meats was established on what was then King George Highway.

In 1972, Vic bought out his brother, and a year later, his father.

“But (dad) still hung around. On the weekend he was the collector, ‘til the day he passed away in 1983,” Toni said.

“He was actually looking at another meat-delivery endeavour,” Vic added, laughing.

Over the decades, while food trends have changed, the team at Penguin Meats has stayed the same for the most part, with staffers spending decades serving customers or working in the warehouse.

“We’ve had our ups and downs with the economy, but we still persevered,” Irene said.

“I keep preaching to my grandchildren, people need to eat. If you look after them, they’ll always come back,” Vic added.

Taking care of their customers has extended to caring for their community, with Irene noting that many times staff have played the role of directory when the phone rings with inquiries about nearby shops.

“They may not know the name of the store, but they know we’ll know,” Irene laughed.

The family also supports local sports, including minor baseball and minor hockey, as well as the Surrey Eagles.

“We do what we can. And we want to thank everyone in the community for supporting us,” Irene said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey’s Kevin McAlpin is hoping to reunite this 50-year-old wedding ring with its rightful owner. (Contributed photo)
Owner of 50-year-old wedding band found near Peace Arch Park sought

Recovered ring ‘is important to somebody,’ says finder

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council earmarks $1.8M in grants for community groups

Councillor Laurie Guerra says it’s ‘essential’ given damage done by pandemic

Screen shot from the SOS Children’s Village BC webpage for their “Big Hearts Open Doors” fundraising appeal. SOS is also currently running a Christmas gift-card drive to help at-risk youth this Christmas. (Image via sosbc.org)
SOS Children’s Village BC launches annual Christmas gift-card drive

SOS collecting gift cards and donations for Surrey’s at-risk youth

Surrey protesters wearing their blue “bubble” suits. (Submitted photo)
OUR VIEW: Shut down strange Surrey protest

Unfortunate neighbourhood under siege for 12 weeks and counting

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read