A series of tiny coloured stars are pasted on a map of the world glued to a wall in a corner of Tenderloin Meat & Sausage.
Those five sided dots of red, orange, gold, blue and more reveal the many places where, as longtime employee Debbie Iskierski says, "our customers have taken our products while on vacation."
TM&S’s tasty kobassa (garlic sausage), ham sausage, salamis -- among more than 30 different homemade meat products -- were vacuum packed and taken to Afghanistan (by Canadian forces based in Winnipeg), Bermuda, many places in the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, South America, throughout Europe, parts of Africa, Asia and Australia.
"We even had a lady come in recently to buy some sausage to take on her trip to Antarctica," said Iskierski, who calls the business a community meat market.
Now that’s customer loyalty.
Tenderloin Meat & Sausage, at the corner of Main and Lansdowne, opened its doors in 1985 and has seen two expansions at its 4,000-square-foot site in the historic North End, owner Walter Klopick said.
"When dad bought this building, it was half the size," says Zenon Klopick, who along with his brother, Chris, runs the business.
He adds that the building used to house a kosher butcher shop on one side and an antique store on the other.
"Over the years, we slowly but surely developed a clientele," continues Zenon.
Walter explains that he previously worked for Canadian National Railways, then ran a grocery store on McPhillips Street with his wife, Olga, for five years, where he learned butchering and sausage making. He later worked for a time as a butcher for a national supermarket chain before starting up TM&S.
"From the beginning, we have dedicated ourselves to making the very finest quality kobassa and deli meat specialties," he says.
"Our kobassa recipe has been passed down through the generations. We use time-honoured craftsmanship, such as hand cutting and trimming our meat."
During a tour of the business, Chris Klopick takes a guest into the warm and pungent rear production area which houses, among other equipment, a state of the art computerized wood-burning smokehouse.
"The majority of the products we sell are made in-house," he says.
"Our products contain only the freshest ingredients. We use fresh garlic, not powdered, and only the finest quality spices. No MSG, powdered milk, soy product or any other type of filler are used."
The Klopicks also supply other retailers in the city who carry Tenderloin Meat and Sausage products.
"We also deliver our products to retail outlets around the province... Brandon, the Interlake region, Beausejour and Oakbank," says Walter, whose garlic sausage was awarded best kobassa in Canada for three years in a row at a national contest in Ottawa run by the Ukrainian Professional Businessmen’s Association.
"We are dedicated to providing top quality meat products to our customers and outstanding customer service."
It’s become a tradition.
Martin Zeilig is a Winnipeg-based writer.