Longtime White Rock business Penguin Meats is closing Aug. 1. (Alex Browne photo)

Longtime White Rock business Penguin Meats is closing Aug. 1. (Alex Browne photo)

Iconic White Rock store to close after corporate decision

Penguin Meats plans to continue to serve customers through wholesale location

Penguin Meats’ retail store – a cornerstone of the White Rock business community – is closing its doors after 55 years in operation.

A press release from Penguin Meat Supply Ltd. indicates, however, that the company plans to continue serving its customer base through a new distribution model based at its South Surrey wholesale location.

General manager Steve Levis confirmed Tuesday (July 21) that the last day of operation for the store, at 1545 Johnston Rd., will be Saturday, Aug. 1.

Levis said the corporate decision was handed down to employees in a meeting held Monday night, but deferred to senior management to comment on the reasons for the closure of the retail outlet by the company, part of the Premium Brands Holdings Corporation since 2018.

In a corporate press release issued late Tuesday, the company cited the pandemic business climate as the reason for making a “difficult decision.”

“(The company)… like many others, has been irreparably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release states. “As a result we have decided to focus our operations on wholesale distribution,” the release states.

“We are committed to providing the customer service you have all come to expect at our wholesale location (19195 33 Ave.) through a direct-to-customer program that we are currently developing.

“We want to thank the White Rock community, our loyal customers, partners, and the employees who made it all possible.”

“It’s a sad, sad day that we had to make this announcement,” Levis told Peace Arch News earlier on Tuesday.

“Penguin Meats has been part of the White Rock community for more than 50 years. We are so appreciative to the community for its support over all those years, and so grateful for the hard work of all our employees. The staff have done a tremendous job and this is nothing against them.”

READ MORE: Penguin Meats marks major milestone

Levis said a small team of store employees will be kept on to oversee the wind-down of the retail operation over this week and next week. Penguin Meats’ wholesale operation, and the company’s Langley Cold Storage facility, will continue to operate as before, he said.

Originally located in Whalley, Penguin Meats was started by Harry Michaluk and sons Vic and Walter in the 1950s. In October of 1964, the business moved to new premises at 1554 Johnston Rd. and in the early 1970s, Vic and his wife Irene bought out Harry and Walter to become sole owners.

Their daughter Toni married long-time employee Doug Charles and the couple – who had been working for the business since they were in high school – became even more involved in operations, with Charles serving as manager for many years until he passed away from cancer in 2018.

READ MORE: Doug Charles remembered for ‘gentle ways’

In 2016, the store relocated to new premises on the west side of Johnston Road, after its long-time location was slated for demolition as part of site clearance for the PARC seniors residence.

BusinessWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Man charged after multiple mail thefts in Surrey: RCMP

Police say man was reported to be carrying a crowbar and looking into vehicles

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.'s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
Province ‘ramping up’ COVID-19 vaccination effort in hard-hit Surrey

‘Door-to-door’ registration program in the works, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Serena Deol, Jaspreet Deol, Madison Sweeney and Tanveer Pannu (pictured clockwise from top left) are Surrey United soccer players recruited to the University of Fraser Valley. (submitted photos)
Surrey United soccer quartet sign to play for UFV Cascades

Three of the university’s recruits are Panorama Ridge Secondary students

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read