Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/12/2015 (2121 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As the holiday season approaches and their festive orders increase, Ki Yong Park and Claudia Kang expect to be starting a few workdays at 3 a.m.
Not that the husband-and-wife team is complaining. In fact, the owners of Molly’s Meat Pies, located at G-390 Provencher Blvd., wouldn’t have it any other way.
On Dec. 1, Park and Kang will celebrate three years at the helm of the business, which they bought from previous longtime owners Maureen and Jim McKeown in 2012.
The McKeowns established the business and ran it for 20 years before retiring abroad. Before handing over the keys, they made sure Park and Kang learned how to make Molly’s trademark best-selling items. Only four months before officially taking the reins from their predecessors, Park and Kang immigrated to Winnipeg from South Korea.
Kang, 53, believes this consistency has helped the business retain many of its loyal, longtime customers, as well attract new faces with an appetite for trying traditional British, Irish and French fare.
"Business has been very good. Sales have increased slightly over the last year. We still have some of our older customers from before, but there is also a younger generation coming in now," Kang said.
"Our customers really like the food made by the previous owners, the ethnic British and French stuff, and some of them have said very clearly not to change."
Park, 53, added that the couple’s business model, based on supply and demand, is more geared to producing European-inspired goods.
"Some of our customers ask why we don’t do some Korean food, but it’s really difficult to mix the two," he said with a laugh.
So whether shoppers are searching for supper items such as tourtière, steak and mushroom pie, chicken and vegetable pie, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties, Jamaican patties or quiche — to name a few — there should be something for everyone’s tastes. For those with a sweet tooth, the selection includes Scottish shortbread, Scottish oat cakes, fruit pies and scones. The business also stocks a selection of specialty items made by Henry Meats in Brandon such as black pudding, white pudding, haggis and pork pies.
On top of the store’s daily quota, the couple will be working on an increasing number of extra orders in the run-up to Christmas and they anticipate one or two 16-hour workdays before the end of the month.
And it’s not only this time of year that sees a rise in baking activity. During a few weeks in the summer, Park and Kang are kept busy filling orders for Folklorama pavilions including the U.K. pavilion, the Pavilion of Scotland and the Celtic-Ireland pavilion. They also supply local outlets like Jardins St-Léon Gardens.
The couple said one of the best parts about coming to work every day is the sense of community they feel.
"Many of our customers are from St. Boniface and many come from all over the city. Lots of our business comes from word of mouth," Kang said.
"We really appreciate the loyalty of our customers and we like to give them samples to try, so they can try something new," Park added.
Park and Kang currently have three part-time employees and their 15-year-old son, KD, helps out during the school holidays.
For more information, call 204-231-0221.
The Lance community journalist
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.