BUSINESSES IN THE BEVERLY AREA
A list of businesses and the families that ran them who came to Beverly from all over the world.
Written by Colleen McCullough. Photos courtesy of Apollo Propane, Fall of 2013
The future of Apollo Propane began in the 1960s with Doug Stephenson’s purchase of the property at 4020-118 Avenue in Beverly. The Province of Alberta was expropriating land for the Yellowhead Highway and Blue Flame was forced to move from its Cloverdale location.
The company chose to move to Beverly where they rented Doug Stephenson’s building. In 1968, Doug, a keen entrepreneur, partnered with Oliver Mclean to build the Niagara Car Wash at 44 Street and 188 Avenue, now the home of Husky Gas Station.
Doug had a strong passion for customer service and wanted, “the gas jockey to be out there before the wheels on the car had stopped, greeting customers and attending to their needs”, recalls Doug’s oldest son, Mark Stephenson.
During their partnership, the two men built the shopping centre that is located between the A&W and the Husky station. Doug’s focus changed with the death of Oliver McLean in 1970. He continued to run the Niagara car Wash for another year and then sold.
At this time, Doug and Eileen’s family was growing, with four children and a fifth due to arrive in June of 1972. In the summer of 1972, Doug received the news that Blue Flame no longer needed the 4020 property. It was a time for change.
Mark Stephenson recalls how the name of Apollo Propane was determined, “My dad was mowing the lawn in the summer of 1972. The Apollo moon shots were underway and now Blue Flame is leaving his property and he is at a crossroads, so decides to open Apollo Propane because of his knowledge of the business”. In October of 1972, Apollo Propane is officially launched as a sole proprietorship with Doug at the helm.
Mark joins the family business in 1973 at the age of 12. He is put to work filling propane bottles, mowing the lawn, painting the building, picking up garbage, filling the bins with fittings and mopping the floors. John, the next son, began working for his father right after high school and was soon followed by his brother Alan.
Doug’s best advice to his children was, “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right the first time”. Doug was also a firm believer in being a good corporate citizen. He sponsored the B&B Blazers hockey team and the Tom Cross Memorial Tournament as a way to give back to the community.
In 1987, Apollo Propane developed the property at 4106-118 Avenue to give Beverly a full service gas station and car wash. It was during the 80s that Apollo Propane ventured into the festivals market, starting with their first contract, Taste of Edmonton.
Word soon spread to other organizers of major festivals that these guys knew what they were doing. Soon Apollo Propane developed a solid reputation as suppliers of propane for many of the city’s festivals. They have supplied Taste of Edmonton for over 20 years, the Edmonton Folk Festival for 20 plus years and just over 10 years ago, the Edmonton Heritage Festival came on board.
When asked what goes into supplying propane for the Heritage Festival, Mark responded, “The Heritage Festival has 63 pavilions and all but one require propane. The pavilions are spread out over the entire park. We hook up each one and monitor the propane. On site, we will provide over 15,000 lbs of propane during the three day event”.
BALLOONS, BEARS AND BOUQUETS
Story by Edie Rains and photos by Colleen McCullouh
In the summer of 1993, Edie Rains was back in Canada with her three independent children. She had previously lived in England and Texas and had worked with taxes and as a teacher. She was looking for a new venture. Her neighbour has started Balloons, Bears and Bouquets the previous year but was willing to sell the business to Edie. Edie took over the shop in September of 1993.
The first Bears, Balloons and Bouquets location was a small 300 square foot space at 45th Street and 118th Avenue. A move to the strip mall at 43rd Street and 118th Avenue increased her space considerably. The most recent move to 4308 – 118th Avenue was in the same mall but to an even larger 1450 square foot bay.
“I have enjoyed operating Bears, Balloons and Bouquets and often say that I never have to go to work. Every day is different and the people are awesome. The local neighbourhood is comprised of very genuine and loyal people who appreciate the service they receive. I’ve had some of the same Valentine’s Day customers for 19 years!” states Edie Rains.
Her slogan of “Special Somethings for Special Someones” resonates with her staff who work to help customers find the perfect gift. The shop carries a wide range of fresh flowers and silk arrangements and will accommodate special orders. One of the largest balloon selections in Edmonton is supplemented by special order gift baskets that can have added personal touches such as pet treats or toys.
One of the advantages of a larger space is the expanded selection of giftware, something that changes regularly. Plush “critters”, angels, candles and cards make it a one stop shop for gift giving. The delivery service is available to anywhere in Edmonton, Sherwood Park and St. Albert. Orders can be sent to stores anywhere else.
The shop also served as a Sears Catalogue store where orders were taken and purchases were picked up. Payments on accounts and merchandise returns were part of the service Edie provided. Sears no longer have a catalogue and shopping is now done online.
As the business grows, Edie has plans for the future that may include classes in floral arrangement.
Anton Jansen, Richard Plaizier, Bob Veenstra
Beverly Bakery, circa 1950 – Photo courtesy Anton Jansen
Beverly Bakery began operations at 4435 118 Avenue in November 1953, the brainchild of three Dutch-Canadian bakers – Anton Jansen, Richard (Dick) Plaizier and Bob Veenstra. All three had worked extensively in the baking industry in Holland, with Plaizier boasting 25 years of baking experience. With limited capital, but an abundance of know-how, the three men rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
The first day’s baking went unsold, but as word spread, business grew. Beverly’s side roads were so poor that a horse-drawn wagon was the only way to get through the mud on many days and so the company used one wagon and two trucks for delivery.
By 1958, the fleet had grown to seven trucks, the horse had been retired and demand necessitated a new plant. The new $50,000 location at 4118 118th Avenue opened in March 1958, featuring as its showpiece a giant fully automatic Hubbard oven, capable of baking 500 loaves of bread per hour and turning out evenly baked cookies and pastries. “Truly, a progressive business in a fastgrowing town,” concluded the Beverly News in a report on the official opening.
“The Finest Home Style Baking” was a slogan and their ads proclaimed: “Oven Fresh Bread Baked Daily. Wholesome, Nutritious, Appetizing. Stop in and get your order today, or we do House-to-House Delivery.” In 1972, the company introduced Quick-UBake products and the frozen dinner and cheese buns quickly became best sellers in Alberta retail and institutional outlets. Early in 1987 two young Italian-Canadians, Pat Rota and Santo Cardamone, bought the company and carried on the name and tradition for quality. Today, the business operates as Italian Bakery, owned by the Frattin family, and remains a Beverly landmark.
BEVERLY CREST MOTOR HOTEL
The Beverly Crest Motor Hotel: 3414 – 118 Avenue
The 1960 announcement of the planned construction of a new hotel between 34 and 36 Streets along the northside of 118 Avenue generated much excitement in the community. The new hotel was to supply a minimum of 20 new jobs. Owned by brothers William and Joe Lutsky and “Wolfy” Margolis, the Beverly Crest Motor Hotel was completed in 1961 and the official opening came the following spring.
“It wasn’t an easy time, the hours were long and the work was hard,” Joe recalls. “But I guess we did alright.” Designed by the Edmonton architectural firm Hemingway and Laubental, the city of Edmomon Archive 42-room hotel was acclaimed for its extensive use of plate glass, which lent the lobby an “air of spaciousness,” according to one newspaper account.
“The hotel is designed as far as possible on one level,” the article continued, “the exception being the downstairs banqueting rooms and one floor of bedrooms on the second floor reached by a wide, gently rising staircase. The design lias thus eliminated the necessity of elevators, a necessary convenience in most hotels.” Each room featured low dressing tables crafted in walnut, a full-length wall mounted mirror and a full size double bed and a duo-bed lounge.
An advertisement announcing the official opening urged readers to “see the exciting modem decor of the Firebird Room, the Crest Coffee Shop, dining room and beverage rooms. Popular country music star Gaby Haas and his group played from two until five opening afternoon and the event was broadcast live on CFRN Radio. Instead of pictures, every room boasted a wall mural. The general contractor was K. Vollan Limited, the Edmonton firm that also built many Beverly schools during the 1950s.
From the beginning, the hotel was known by locals as ‘The Crest.” Over the years, it has been renowned for its entertainment, its smorgasbord and its friendly community atmosphere. Lorraine Trudeau started working at the hotel in 1962 and she remembers the early days with fondness. “It wras such a busy time; there were just 42 rooms then and the banquet business was very good. You got to know people because they came back again and again.”
Ernie Mekechuk came on the scene as manager in 1976 and he and a new group of investors launched a $3.2 million expansion the next year. The project, completed in 1978, added 50-rooms, expanded the existing amenities and upgraded and redecorated the rooms and common areas. “We brought the expansion in just at the right time because business was booming,” Mekechuk recalls “But then the Yellowhead Highway bypass was completed and business fell off in a big hurry.”
Now flying the Travelodge banner, he’s contemplating a further enhancement of the facility to help bring back some of the weekend and holiday family travelers.
Roger Bourassa was still working for Swifts Canada in 1949 when he opened Beverly Cycle at 4711-118 Avenue. Whether Roger saw the shop as an entrepreneurial endevour or a service to the community, the Beverly Cycle Shop quickly became an important centre in the community. Anyone who grew up in Beverly during the 1950s had some reason to stop by the shop.
The cycle shop shared space with a two chair barber shop, a partnership that allowed Beverly residents to drop off, during business hours, whatever needed repair or sharpening. Beverly Cycle wasn’t just about bicycles. In the winter, skates would be dropped off for sharpening or repair. The barber would sign in the skates and later when Roger returned, he would spend the evening sharpening everything that had been dropped off that day. It wasn’t unusual for the barber to take on some of the skate sharpening, as well.
To meet the demand, Roger had invested in two expensive grinding stones. He was very careful to keep them in good working order. That became difficult when skates that had been used on the frozen creosote pond at the Domtar site came in for sharpening. Local kids used the tailings pond as a rink in the winter and their skate blades became covered with residue. The oil covered blades played havoc with the grinding stones and Roger finally began to use a regular grinder on any of the coated skate blades.
The summer was dedicated to bicycles and baseball. Beverly Cycle rarely sold a new bicycle. Used bikes were expertly restored by Roger and in many cases, maintained for the lifetime of the bike. When needed, Beverly Cycle purchased bike parts from Alberta Cycle and then Highlands Cycle. Roger’s son, Don remembers that he didn’t own a new bicycle until he could afford one for himself. Neighbourhood youth and children were heavily dependent on bicycles. Bikes were their most important transportation mode taking kids to school, to games, the stores and throughout the river valley. Some of the boys delivered newspapers on their bikes. The demand for bikes and bike repairs grew with the increased population of Beverly.
In 1959, Roger was offered the job of Park Supervisor for the Town of Beverly. In 1960, Roger and Mary Ann built a residence on to the rear of the cycle shop. Old time residents remember the mural that Steve Mucha painted in their basement. Beverly Cycle was sold in 1963 and the Bourassas moved to Tofield. They returned to Beverly in 1965 where Roger took on the Floden Park skating rink.
The skate sharpening stones went to the Beverly Heights and Beacon Heights Community Leagues and Roger, as long as he was able, repaired bicycles in Beverly.
BEVERLY DENTURE CLINIC
Alberto Ruiz, denturist and owner of the Beverly Denture Clinic, juggles many hats in the course of a day with only 24 hours. The gentle and soft spoken man was once a young boy growing up in the area. Like most youngsters he was oblivious to how the course of his life would eventually unfold. Today, at this junction of his life’s journey, he is the sole owner and denturist of the Beverly Denture Clinic at 4008 – 118 Avenue.
As he juggles his roles of husband, father, business owner and community volunteer he took the time out of his busy day to do an email interview. The following is our Q and A that provided much insight into his life, his journey and his values.
What are the services you provide at the clinic?
Here at Beverly Denture Clinic we provide our patients with complete denture services. From complete dentures to partial dentures to sports guards, night guards, relines, soft liners, whitening kits, repairs along with implant supported dentures and now hybrid dentures which are dentures that are implant retained and cannot be removed by the patient.
Describe the history of the Beverly Denture Clinic prior to you taking it over.
I’m still trying to put things together, but to my knowledge this clinic was first opened in about 1971 by a denturist named Mr. Nester. I’m not sure how long he ran it but it did changed hands to another denturist who ran it till the early 90s when he unfortunately passed away. Itwas then taken over by Mr. Robertson and Mr. Cooper,both denturist and teaching at NAIT. Soon after Mr. Cooper left to concentrate on teaching and Mr. Robertson retired from teaching and began to practice full time at the Beverly Denture Clinic. That is about the time when I came in and started my practicum with Mr. Robertson for about a year and then went elsewhere to finish my practicum.
What was your history before coming to be the owner of the Clinic? Childhood, Schools, University, etc.
I grew up in this neighborhood and went to school in this area. Never knowing that there was a denture clinic here, never mind becoming a denturist. I went to St. Clare school for my grade 2 and stayed there till grade 9. Then went to St. Joseph for high school. So many good memories in this area and many changes during the years. I continued to NAIT for my studies, and decided that denturist was my way to go as I always enjoyed biology and wanted to one day own my own business. That’s were I met Mr. Cooper
What year did you become the owner?
I remember that when I worked for Mr. Robertson I was thinking that this clinic would be perfect as it was a short distance from home, and I enjoyed the area and I had lived and grown up here. I gained lots of experience with Mr. Robertson as he was a prior teacher and had a wealth of experience, I am so thankful for this. Mr Robertson always told me that “when I turn 65 I will not be working anymore” — that stuck with me. Unfortunately in the mid 90s it got very slow and he had to let me go. I went to go work elsewhere and was very thankful for the experience I gained at all the clinics I worked at. I returned in 1999 and worked with Mr. Robertson for that year knowing that I would take over in 2000. As I walked in to see Mr. Robertson his first words were “I was hoping to see you soon” that was very welcoming and made me feel accepted.
Describe the philosophy that your business is built on?
My philosophy for this clinic is simple. Make people smile! And by this I mean give them the best service and product that I possibly can. I do this by keeping up with many hours of continued education, and staying in tune with the latest techniques and products. I pay close attention to what the patients needs are and try satisfy them.
What are your hours?
In my early days my hours would vary as my kids were small and since my schedule was flexible I was the one that would be picking up and dropping off. Now thatI am working with a colleague I try to have my hours more consistent. We open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. I do at times accommodate later appointments, as long there’s an appointment made then all is well.
How many staff do you have?
For the longest time I was on my own, but currently I have hired Nadine, she did her internship with me and I decided to hire her. She is very interested in the field and very particular with her work and that makes her a good denturist.
What attracted you to settle in the neighbourhood with your family and business?
I believe that we all tend to migrate to where home is or was. The trees are gorgeous, and you can’t beat the size of lots here. I always enjoyed the Beverly area, the people are friendly and I love to hear the stories my patients have to tell about this place. This is a great place to raise a family and to work.
THE BEVERLY PAGE
Publisher of The Beverly Page (Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton Journal Collection J4367/2)
When the rumours were swirling that a chemical plant was going to be built near Beverly, Germaine Dalton decided enough was enough. Determined that a vehicle was needed to keep citizens informed, the 40-year-old woman decided to canvass local businesses and measure support for a local paper.
The result was the Beverly Page, which commenced publication in August 1953 as a four page publication newspaper that was distributed to 1,000 subscribers. For the first ten years, the paper was sold and distributed by carriers but, after several were beaten and robbed, the paper went to free distribution.
Over the next three decades, Dalton and her son Marcel built the community paper into a thriving publication with seven employees and 21,000 subscribers. “It gave us a good living,” Germaine said in a 1978 interview on the occasion of the paper’s 25th anniversary. “It sent my three boys through university.” Since 1978, the paper has been run by son Marcel.
The Beverly Page wasn’t the first community paper to be published in the town; The Ladder and the Beverly Advertiser were both published in the days before the Depression.
William and Winifred Lesick
Beverly Pharmacy, circa 1951 – Photo courtesy Bill Lesick
William (Bill) and Winifred Lesick’s Beverly Pharmacy opened August 1, 1951 and, for the next 31 years, it was a local institution. Lesick bought the business from a young Fort Saskatchewan pharmacist who had opened the store two months earlier but decided it wasn’t for him. The one-storey retail block had been built as a restaurant sometime in the 1940s.
For Lesick, just back from the war and fresh out of university, the pharmacy provided his first opportunity to own a business. But the local economy wasn’t good and the business struggled in its early days.
Yet Bill and Winnie persevered and eventually prospered. They sold the business in February 1983, a few months after Lesick had captured the federal Conservative nomination for Edmonton West. Lesick was elected as Member of Parliament in the 1984 general election. For Beverly citizens, the pharmacy became a centre of the community – and the place mothers bought their children dreaded cod liver oil and other medicines for nasty colds and gripe.
Reginald Alfred Carter
Reg Carter’s Garage, circa 1945 — photo courtesy the Carter Family
Cars were becoming a part of everyone’s life when Reginald Alfred Carter decided that his talent as a mechanic could be profitable. But what to use for a garage on 118th Avenue?
No problem, he decided, and proceeded to move a garage he had built in his mother’s yard at 4015 112th Avenue. He hauled the structure to the northwest corner of 44th Street and 118th Avenue. That’s how Beverly Service was born.
Reg offered auto repairs and welding service and business was so good that he needed two tow trucks. Reg and his wife Doris Francis Burk built a small home for themselves behind the garage and raised six children. The business was sold in 1955 and the Carters retired, remaining to live in Beverly.
Dan and Anastasia Danilowich
Danilowich Store, circa 1912 – Photo courtesy Ann Shobbrook
Dan and Anastasia Danilowich and their families arrived in Beverly in 1912. Dan had been born in Toorod, Ukraine
on December 24, 1883 and, while still a teenager, was drafted into the Austrian Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant in three years’ service. He married 19-year-old Anastasia Proch February 23, 1908 and the couple and their families left for Canada in June of that year. They settled in Manley, Alberta and, in 1910 through 1912, Dan and his brother-in-law worked with a team of oxen laying track from Edson through Entwistle, Carrot Creek and Carvel.
In 1912 Dan moved his family to Beverly where he worked as pit boss in the Humberstone mine. But, in the fledgling community, Danilowich apparently realized the potential of the retail business and he and his brother John constructed the first general store in Beverly. The store boasted an ice house at the back, where huge blocks of ice were stored to keep meat and perishables fresh. The family lived above the store, which opened at eight in the morning and closed at 10 in the evening. In these cramped living quarters they raised 13 children, born between 1909 and 1933. They lost four of their children while still infants and son Michael died when he was just five.
The first post office in Beverly was started in the warehouse attached to the store but later was moved to a building at 40th Street and 118th Avenue. Long time residents remember the Danilowich dog, Teddy, would often fetch the mail at the new post office. “Mr. Dan”, as he was known to locals, spoke several languages fluently, including German, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Hungarian and English and he was frequently used as a translator. His hobby was carpentry and he particularly loved to build houses and he also helped construct the Night & Day Cafe, Transit Hotel and Northwest Industries.
Behind the store was a garden and a few animals – a cow, chickens and geese. Anastasia often baked buns, donuts and often called the children in on a cold winter day for hot soup or anything that she had to warm them up when they were on their way home from school. In 1930, the depression caused extreme hardship in the community and unpaid bills forced the closure of the store. Eight years later, Kelly Douglas and H.H. Cooper Wholesale Grocers offered backing to reopen the business. Danilowich then operated the store until 1952, three years after Anastasia died on October 29, 1949. He retired to his beloved carpentry and rest in the garden and lived to be 85 years old. He died July 29, 1969.
Bernhard Gollner’s Lifelong Passion for Motorcycles Realized
Bernhard (Bernie) Gollner’s passion is, was and always will be motorcycles. Born in 1938, as a child Bernhard was fascinated by these machines. Little did he know while growing up in Germany that his passion for motorcycles would be his career for 47 years in another country.
Gollner grew up on a farm and later in the Town of Taufkirchen/Vils 54 km northeast of Munich City, the Capital of Bavaria. It was on the farm where, at the age of nine, he developed a love for motorcycles. He would frequently visit the neighbours who owned and worked on old motorcycles that had survived World War II. Five years later he apprenticed as an automotive mechanic in his home town and when he was 18 years of age he moved to the City of Munich where he worked in factories such as BMW, MAN-Truck Manufacturing and the Lowenbrau Brewery as a truck driver before leaving for Canada.
With a $220 ticket, paid for from his savings, he left Germany in June of 1961 on a Greek ship line called the Arcadia. Bernie arrived in Canada in July and boarded the CN Rail in Montreal for his Edmonton destination with a$65 rail ticket. Two suitcases packed with clothes, a few belongings and a $150 in his pocket was all he brought on his journey. Upon his arrival he stayed at the Jasper Hotel for three nights at $2 a night.
He arrived on a Saturday and went to the Immigration Office on Monday where he was offered employment at the factory of Glendale Mobile Homes in Wetaskiwin as a carpenter’s helper. He stayed with a German couple and rented a room for $25 a month. Gollner would work for Glendale for three and a half years being promoted to a cabinet maker with pay of 95 cents per hour. In just nine months he had managed to save a thousand dollars. He recalls Pierre Burton writing of immigrants coming to Canada “They came with a dream”and Gollner said “That was the case with me”. His dream was to work with motorcycles and make a living at it.
In pursuit of his dream he went to a real estate office in downtown Edmonton and met realtor Andy Meroniuk who showed him a property in Beverly at 4009-118 Avenue. It was formerly the Post Office and occupied by Dr. Myles Medford who operated his Chiropractic office in the space. He purchased the property with a 25 foot lot and living quarters on the back for $9,800. Bernhard was 23 years old and people asked him “How can you pay so much for that property?” remembers Gollner with a smile.
In January of 1967 he opened the doors of International Cycle Co. in the building he purchased in 1962. It began as a motorcycle repair shop owned and operated by Gollner. The following year he would expand the business to include the franchisees of Triumph, Hodaka and Kawasaki motorcycles.
It was during these years that Gollner would explore motorcycle racing. He raced from 1967 to 1971 at the Twin Bridges and Little Acres west of the City of Edmonton. He participated in scrambles and flat track reaching speeds of 60 to 80 miles an hour. In those three years he would claim first place once. There was no money for the victor but the trophy was worth the ride. His favourite motorcycle to race was the BSA 441cc Grand Prix. He still has that machine in his shop today.
Gollner also participated in ice racing at the Muk Luk Days at Northlands in 1968. He would practice on 1st Street on the pond at the gravel pits. When he couldn’t get spikes for the tires he improvised by inserting bolts in the treading. In 1969 while vacationing in Germany he met the love of his life, Elisabeth, at a New Year’s Eve dance. When Bernie returned to Canada he corresponded with Elisabeth and they were married in Taufkirchen/Vils, Germany in December the following year. Elisabeth arrived in Canada in February 1971 and in March the couple purchased the Norwood Cycle Store at 9420-111 Avenue, one of the oldest bicycle stores in Edmonton. Elisabeth managed their new store and International Cycle added new bicycle sales and repairs to their shop services.
“More lines where added and in 1972 we needed more operating space. The pool hall next door at 4015-118 Avenue was vacant, neglected and for sale. We purchased the property, renovated and in 1973 we moved into the larger premises. In 1980 we added a workshop on the west side of the property of 4015-118 Avenue and modernized the store front with a face lift to the present stage. In 1984 the company name was changed to International Cycle Ltd. Business was good during the 1970’s and 80’s. In 1998 we gave up the Kawasaki franchise. At that time we were the oldest Kawasaki dealer for the last 10 years in Canada” continued Gollner. For 30 years, from 1968 to 1998, they had the Kawasaki franchise. They lived and breathed the brand.
Today Bernie and Elisabeth Gollner continue to live on the same lot that Bernie purchased in 1965 from the same realtor who sold Gollner his first shop. The couple continues to work on 118 Avenue with an easier schedule. They utilize E-Bay to sell and ship parts around the world, mostly Kawasaki parts from the 70’s and 80’s. Walk in the door and you’ll see a collection of antique bicycles and motorcycles each with their own story of adventure. “Now we are 47 years in Beverly in business and still moving along as we always have done.”
THE ITALIAN BAKERY
A family business since 1960 – “We were the first, and we’re still the best!”
Gilberto Frattin, owner of the Italian Bakery at 4118 118 Avenue in Beverly has invested his life’s work in the family business. Carrying on the strong traditions of his parents, Antonio and Aurora Frattin, who immigrated to Canada in 1956 from Italy, Gilberto has been working in the bakery since he was a child. From humble beginnings, Antonio and Aurora opened the first Italian Bakery on October 26, 1960 with $25. Their total profit for the first day was $4.60. Working long hours from a small rented shop at 90th Street and 121st Avenue the business grew as they introduced Edmontonians to their European breads.
Gilberto, or Gibby as he’s called by customers and friends, was born the eldest son and he, along with his four brothers and sisters worked at the bakery during their childhood. He recalls sleeping and playing on the flour sacks while his parents worked.
In 1962 they moved to a larger location at 10644 97 Street where the family lived above the shop. After school there were no shortages of tasks to do at the bakery for all the children. It was at this location that they introduced pizza to the Edmonton market with a great response.
In 1986 the business expanded and the family purchased the building at 4118 118 Avenue for their second location. Formerly the Beverly Bakery and the Beverly Movie Theatre the location was transformed to suit their growing needs. Take a few steps in and you’ll see the map of Italy gracing the far wall. Turn around and look up and you’ll see the history of the bakery in photographs from the early days.
Breathe in and you’ll be greeted by the smell of fresh baking. Sicilian cannoli, Portuguese tarts, Napoleon slices are among the 30 different delicious home style pastries and cookies that grace the showcases of the bakery. Tiramisu, an Italian favorite dessert, is now available in a single serving cup and of course, as the traditional full cake. The staple of the Italian Bakery is the fresh bread that is baked in store daily.
While change is part of every industry, machines are now used to make the breads but the recipes haven’t changed and the commitment to excellence and customer service remains an integral part of their continued success. Today the pagnotta, a rustic Italian peasant bread, is still created by hand from a recipe that’s 200 years old.
Specialty cakes prepared for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions await your order. Perhaps you’ve already tried a slice at the annual opening of the Beverly Farmers’ Market! A full delicatessen that includes 200 specialty meats and cheeses is also part of the bakery with deli platters for your next event available.
Imported groceries from Italy, Germany, Poland and other countries around the world line the shelves and today they carry over 4,000 different grocery items. Step out of your comfort zone and try the gluten free pastas and polenta, drunken beans, sauerkraut, hot sauces, risotto and much more.
Stop in and experience the taste of Italy in their coffee bar and make sure to combine your specialty coffee with an Italian sandwich made in store! 50 employees, with 30 at the Beverly location, continue the family tradition. While his parents have retired from the day to day operations of the business, Gibby, his sister, brother and brother-in-law ensure that the stores continue to offer the best food and service.
The Italian Bakery is an anchor store of the Beverly Business Association serving the local community with pride and drawing customers from all over the City and surrounding areas. The two locations, Beverly at 4118 118 Avenue and downtown at 10644 97 Street, are open Monday – Friday from 7 am to 7 pm and Saturdays from 7 am to 5 pm. Visit their website at www.italianbakeryedm.com for more information.
WIDYNOWSKI’S SAUSAGE HOUSE
Celebrating 30 years of quality tradition in Beverly 1984-2014
The year was 1984 when three partners, Robert Widynowski, his brother-in-law Greg Hawryluk and Ernie Kowal opened Widynowski’s Sausage House in a leased building at 4206-118 Avenue in the Beverly Business District. Attracted to the Ukrainian population already in the neighbourhood the partners felt the location was right for their product. The product line consisted of one item, a ham and garlic sausage produced from an original recipe of Baba Widynowski. They anticipated the doors banging down with customers on opening day.
That didn’t happen but customers came slow and steady as they built their business from 1984 to 2014. The three men, in their twenties, had another thing on their side, an unwavering belief that they could create a thriving business through their raw determination and strong work ethic. Each partner brought something different to the table: Widynowski (age 25) had just completed his carpentry ticket when he decided that he was going into the sausage business. He was and still is, the production guy making sure that supply meets the demand and quality isn’t compromised in the process. Hawryluk (age 29) remains the front man of the operation.
With an infectious smile he is still the sales guy 30 years later. Kowal (age 29) was the only one with prior business experience on the team. He was a “wheeler dealer kind of guy, an entrepreneurial type” said Hawryluk. He guided them through that first year of setting up the business and shop. The partners would then buy out Kowal the following year and Widynowski’s father August became the third partner from 1985 to his death in 1997.
Move the clock ahead 30 years and Widynowski’s Sausage House is an integral part of the Beverly business landscape at 4204 118 Avenue. Their product line and services have expanded over the years. Sausages are now available in three varieties; pure ham, ham garlic and regular garlic. Pepperoni was introduced in regular, honey garlic or, if you like a little more kick the jalapeno cheese is for you. Having a BBQ? For something a little different try the original kubbie burger made from regular garlic sausage without the casing as pictured above. Add variety to the grill with their line of cheese dogs, jalapeno cheese dogs or sausage wieners.
The family owned and operated business offers a full line of traditional Ukrainian products. When we think about Ukrainian food most of us have visions of perogies and cabbage rolls. They are available packaged in quantities of two dozen with a variety to choose from. Add to the meal the pedishki (little buns stuffed with potato and cottage cheese) and for dessert treat your palate to a pampushky, a donut filled with your choice of prune or poppy seed.
20 years ago the partnership introduced wild game processing. Your meat is processed in individual batches so you are insured that you receive the wild game you brought in. Widynowski’s now offers a full line of frozen meat products available by the case. The line stretches from Cajun chicken wings to salmon fillets and much more in between. Check out their website at www.sausagehouse.ca.
Looking back at the challenges and the triumphs of keeping a small business afloat Hawryluk noted those first 10 years were paying off loans, wages and managing cash flow. He is thankful for the Federal Business Development Bank loan in 1989 that: funded the construction of the new building at 4204 118 Avenue and provided the resources to upgrade equipment. The building was completed in 1990 and in 1993 the partners bought the building they were leasing next door at 4206 118 Avenue.
Today the challenge is keeping up with the demand as the business keeps growing. “We are thankful that people in this community supported us, helped put our children through school and that we are making a living. In return, we try to give them a good quality product”, concluded Hawryluk.
Started as the first commercial small fruit operation in Western Canada during the Depression years, Zaychuk Farms has grown to be one of the biggest and longest operating family-run produce growers in the province. The venture was started by Stephen Michael Zaychuk, who was bom in Bruzuchowicze, Poland on February 2, 1908 and emigrated to Canada in 1927. Eight years later he married the former Mary Kobewka of Beverly and that very year he began growing strawberries on property along 44th Street. The story goes that Justice H.H. Parlee gave him $200 to start the venture and said that if the business prospered, he could repay the money, but if it did not, Zaychuk owed him nothing.
In 1943, Zaychuk successfully grew Concord grapes outside and later he expanded the fruit operation by propagating fruit trees for the local climatic conditions. In 1952, Zaychuk was elected to Beverly town council and then returned to office three more times, serving nine years until amalgamation with Edmonton at the end of 1961. That year, he and his son David joined as partners to form Zaychuk Nursery and Vegetable Farms Limited and acquired land east of Namao. With the guidance of Mr. Zaychuk as president, the company became the largest fresh vegetable growers in Alberta and continued to grow and prosper until a tragic end to the story. Stephen Zaychuk was killed in a car accident in Little Fort, BC on April 4, 1973. The family has carried on the tradition he so tenaciously began.