Makers of Delicious Home-Made Style Ukrainian Sausage
Stawnichy’s Meat Processing is a family owned and operated food company in Mundare, Alberta that has been creating world famous Ukrainian sausage as well as more than 80 other meat and Ukrainian food items for over half a century now.
Stawnichy’s endeavours to source ingredients locally to support community and the local economy.
In addition to offering excellent meats and food products, Stawnichy’s operates the Mundare Sausage House & Uncle Ed’s Ukrainian Restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta where you can eat delicious Ukrainian fare to your heart’s content.
Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage is featured on our Highway 15 Road Trip Video
Stawnichy’s From Humble Beginnings to a Sausage Making Dynasty!
(Article published April 2019)
Sixty years is a long time for many businesses, but if you ask Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage, they are just getting warmed up. Since 1959, many Albertans hosting family dinners, barbeques, and other gatherings have turned to Stawnichy’s to supply high quality meats and other Ukrainian favourites to treat their friends and families. Stawnichy’s world famous Ukrainian ham garlic sausage has since become synonymous with “Mundare Sausage.” This was the product that landed Stawnichy’s on everyone’s dinner tables, and was soon followed up with other Ukrainian heritage foods including perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht and a variety of other specialty meat products. Let’s look back at this remarkable story and appreciate how it all began…
In 1959, Woytko and Anne Stawnichy launched a grocery and convenience store in Mundare, a small Ukrainian community about 45 minutes east of Edmonton. The store featured Woytko’s ham garlic sausage made from a traditional Ukrainian family recipe – a recipe that called for the handmade sausages to be finished in a single smoker. The store quickly became a fixture in the local community and surrounding area, and six years later, their son Ed, along with his wife Jane, joined the family business.
It really is Ed’s story, though, that provides the foundation of the modern company and how Stawnichy’s continues to do business. Ed was a musician, community booster, and an astute businessman. His legendary commitment to the people he met, his staff, quality product at reasonable prices, and to his hometown, drove the Stawnichy’s success story. The most significant part of the story lies in Ed’s culture of customer service that permeates the business to this day.
“He was someone who could talk to the premier of the province, and moments later to a homeless person – and show them each the same level of care and respect”, says Kyler Zeleny, one of Ed’s grandchildren who helps run Stawnichy’s today. “He had a knack for dealing with people that you just don’t see anymore.” In 1979, Ed demonstrated his vision and nerve by closing down the corner store in Mundare, and fully committing to the new production facility he had just built across the street. It has remained in the same location since 1979, but the facilities have been significantly upgraded three times to keep pace with demand.
Ed’s children, grandchildren, and extended family continue to work in the fourth generation business. They carry on Ed’s vision that Stawnichy’s become a symbol of reliability and quality. It was Ed’s decision that only the best cuts of meat were to be used in all products: shanks and butts, not secondary cuts. This practice of using the best cuts of meat remains a point of pride to present day. It was also Ed’s mandate that these cuts of meat be locally sourced in Alberta whenever possible – and this led to a point in the 1980’s where Stawnichy’s was the largest purchaser of pork in the entire province.
This commitment to working with local suppliers introduced Ed to producers throughout the province and created a resilient supply chain and reputation for honesty in business. Ed built a brand that was so successful, that all someone had to do was say they were getting “Stawnichy’s,” and everyone knew exactly what they were talking about. This exceptional Alberta success story continues to inspire people to take a roadtrip to Mundare for “Stawnichy’s.” Since Ed’s passing in 2009, Jane, his daughters Cheryl and Colette, and the rest of the Stawnichy family continue to carry on his tradition and commitment to high levels of customer service.
Ed recognized that many people came from Edmonton to Mundare to purchase product, and that many of Stawnichy’s products were being sold in grocery chains and other stores. He saw the need for a distribution point closer to this business hub, and in 1986, Ed opened Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage House in northwest Edmonton. It served as a pick-up point for phone orders, and combined with a deli counter, customer demand in Edmonton steadily grew. The operation quickly outgrew the original location and in 1992, Stawnichy’s opened Uncle Ed’s Ukrainian Restaurant and their deli – Mundare Sausage House – on 50 Street in east Edmonton. They once again expanded in 2006, to their present location at 4824-118 Avenue in east Edmonton, where it remains today.
“It was the deli counter and meats that had us moving (to a bigger location). The restaurant is important, but customers still wanted the sausage and perogies for their homes as well,” says Colette. The secret to growth and meeting increasing demand was Ed’s astounding ability to meet, train, and retain staff who were just as committed to customer service as he was. Many of the Stawnichy’s “family” of staff have forged 30 to 40-year careers with the company. That loyalty has built expertise in product knowledge and created a community of incredibly loyal and devoted customers.
Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage heads into its 60th year with one foot firmly entrenched in its remarkable history, and another poised for the future. The company has built a product line that includes over 80 different kinds of meat items and Ukrainian foods. It is constantly anticipating consumer food trends with new product offerings – including the development of vegetarian and gluten free options of traditional favourites. It is environmentally conscious and always looking at ways to make operations more sustainable, and there are also plans for further expansion as demand further grows for their products. The business carries on Ed’s commitment to local community involvement through its foundation and its fundraising program. Over the decades, sports teams, school groups, community groups, and the like have raised millions of dollars for their causes through selling Stawnichy’s products. Suffice to say, Ed would be very proud and amazed at where his company is headed in the coming decades!