Our History and Founders
Michael and Doreen Halenda opened Halenda’s in 1979 in Oshawa, Ontario at a flea market on Toronto St. Formally M&D Meats – which has always stood for Michael & Doreen or Mom & Dad depending on how you look at it. Our parents appreciated good quality Ukrainian food and they saw a gap in the market in Oshawa. Local delis were expensive and the quality wasn’t up their standard. So they created a product that they could be proud to serve their family and Oshawa ate it up! All five of Michael & Doreen’s children came out to help them in the early days and have always been proud to be part of the Halenda’s story.
The First Brick and Mortars
With the success of the flea market, Michael, Doreen and their son Richard proudly opened their first brick and mortar store in Oshawa on Simcoe St. Richard and his wife Ola moved this location down to their Oshawa Production plant on Wentworth & Nelson in 2002. They have always made an effort to include their family in the process and have had all of their children working throughout the company in various roles. Out of six grandchildren only two are currently old enough to work part time, but we are sure once the others are old enough their love of award-winning kobasa will surely have them making sausages or selling them one day!
Opening our second brick and mortar location at Taunton & Ritson road in 1985. This location was purchased by Brad and Barb McNutt in 1999, 20 years ago. They loved that Halenda’s was a family business, as they too wanted to include their family in the operation. Their children grew up around the store, learning the importance of providing great quality food at reasonable prices to customers. Their son Chris learned to cut meat back in high school. He currently is in charge of the fresh meat department and has helped train many apprentices. Their daughter Raz and daughter in-law Brittany work in the front of the store.
Growing in Oshawa and Durham
Subsequently, Halenda’s opened their fourth and fifth location. David and Christine Hobson have owned the King & Townline store since 2000. David has worked for Halenda’s since his teenage years and decided to make retail management/ownership his career. Christine grew up around the business as she is a third-generation Halenda. Sticking to the family tradition both their daughters Rachel and Sarah have grown up spending weekends at the store greeting customers and learning what customer service means. In 2005 Dave and Christine had their sister –in law Jeanette Hobson join them as part of the management team. Jeanette takes customer service to the next level and trains/mentors the staff to go the extra mile. Her son Marshall Hobson has since become a part of the Halenda’s workforce. This is truly a family business that takes pride in offering you the very best product, with the very best service!
Whitby opened around the time when John Allen started as a butcher in 1986. This location was purchased by the Allen family in 2009. John learned his skills meat cutting and sausage making at Halenda’s and has since passed his knowledge and experience along to his son, Matt who now manages their recently opened Bowmanville location.
The success of the Whitby location allowed the Allen family to embark on a new journey and open up a new location in Bowmanville! Halenda’s newest location is celebrating three years as a successful local butcher shop providing the community with family favourites like the Whamburger and Italian Stallion. The Allen’s love to BBQ and encourage their staff to share their recipes which means new delicious creations all the time!
Expanding to the GTA
Although the business was thriving the Durham, Richard knew there was an opportunity in the West end to provide quality service and product. In 1998 Halenda’s opened up shop at St .Jacobs Market. The market is known throughout Southern Ontario as a destination for local, artisan goods. Our craftmanship and love for the food we serve made us a great fit for this welcoming community. The McNutt family now owns and operates this location and providing the west with the taste of Ontario’s finest meat.
St. Jacobs took off. So in 2013, Halenda’s opened a location in Mississauga, Ontario around the corner from the newly successful Richard and Sons. The family wanted to provide the multi-cultural Etobicoke community with the quality local meat all Halenda’s butcher shops are known for and in addition, provide a selection of European groceries and delicious homemade Ukrainian favourites. The store is active in local Ukrainian community events. Unfortunately, the lease was up in November 2022, and the tough decision was made to close down our Mississauga location.
Award-winning Meat Production
With the demand growing in 2005 The Meat Depot was born. Halenda’s opened a meat distribution company to supply deli’s across Ontario fresh meats at great prices and of course Halenda’s Award winning items as well. Richard and Ola knew the demand for the award-winning meats that Halenda’s produced and a production company would allow them to supply their local meat to a wider audience.
So, the east end was booming and in 2011, the company purchased another production facility in Mississauga. Richard and Sons, concentrates on dry cured and fermented products. Richard and Ola have always treasured their Ukrainian background and was very impressed with the ethnic diversity that Richard’s & Son’s products offered. We can now offer a wide variety of experiences – Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polish, Greek, Serbian and of course our traditional Ukrainian recipes. A lot of these products are dry-cured or fermented and hung to dry in a controlled environment.
Family-owned and Operated
For 40 years the Halenda’s has been servicing and supporting their local communities. Richard has taken a small successful family business started by his parents 40 years ago, and has grown it into a successful company. Today, we consist of two production facilities where the award winning meats are created, a distribution company called The Meat Depot, that now serves deli’s and meat stores across Ontario, and five wonderful ‘family’ business partners leading each of their stores to new successes in their local community.
He is the heart and soul of Halenda’s. So thanks Richard, you are an outstanding person, who never stops building the business (like a new state-of-the-art 47,000 sq feet production facility that will be opening later this year) while always giving back to all around you
The Fundraising History
Since 1979, our family has contributed to the community through participation in local BBQ’s, donations to local causes and volunteering to support charitable events. Our fundraising program was born as we did not want to turn down support for any organization. This program allows us to provide a quality, delicious high-protein pepperoni stick at a great price so that they can raise the money they need quickly and painlessly. Since 2013, we have raised over 2 million dollars for local community organizations, school and sports teams across the GTA. As a family-owned and operated business, we take pride in our product and want to do everything we can to help you succeed in your fundraiser. For more information on your fundraising program, check our our FAQ page.