The Perfect Recipe for Success
Posted by: Natalie Batkis, Bothwell Cheese Blogger
Perfect Pierogies isn’t just a clever name – this Garson, Manitoba company guarantees that you will get the most perfect pierogy no matter how you cook it. It’s a recipe for success that’s worked for this company for a decade.
“It’s called Perfect Pierogies for a reason. You’re guaranteed that your pierogies will stay whole,” says James Aitkenhead, General Manager of Perfect Pierogies.
Aitkenhead has been working with the company for six years and says that the business was created out of a need to find a tastier pierogy on the market.
“One of our owners couldn’t find a perfect cottage cheese pierogy so he got together with Carole, who owns Ludwick Catering, and she had a good family recipe that has been past down from her mom,” Aitkenhead explains.
Once they had the recipe, the stakeholders, Lawrence (Lawrie) Porhownik, Carole Aitkenhead and Joel Cote, had to find the right location and machines that could help whip up the best cottage cheese pierogies around.
“Lawrie used his wisdom and constructed a cooker and chiller from scratch, actually forming the molds out of cardboard. One of the shareholders purchased the old Garson School and the they basically began construction of the plant.”
By 2006, Perfect Pierogies was ready to roll and people were loving their products. Today, their custom pierogy maker can push anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 pierogies in an hour!
Perfect Pierogies are a fully cooked product and are available in five flavours: Potato & Cheddar, Cottage Cheese, Sauerkraut, Feta & Spinach, and Spicy Chili Pepper. You can find Bothwell Cheese in both the Potato & Cheddar pierogies and in the Chili Pepper variety.
“At our plant we strive to use as many Manitoba products as possible, always keeping with our motto ‘fresh is better’. We wanted to go for the gourmet product that compares to the flavours found in Baba’s kitchen. Bothwell Cheese fits right into that! We know Bothwell produces the highest quality cheese available and being as they are a local Manitoba company only strengthens our core values as a manufacturer,” Aitkenhead says.
The pierogies are sold to both retail stores and to distributors in Manitoba. Some of the distributors also ship the product outside of the province. If you’re looking to stock your fridge or freezer with these Ukrainian delicacies, you can find Perfect Pierogies in stores around Winnipeg like Sobeys, Red River Co-op and independent retailers like Local Meats & Frozen Treats, Tenderloin Meat & Sausage, Harry’s Foods and various IGA stores. The products are sold both fresh and frozen depending on the retailer.
These tasty little dumplings aren’t the only delicious fare made by Perfect Pierogies. They’ve also expanded into the pizza business to help keep their employees working full-time. Aitkenhead says their staff is a fantastic group of people and they wanted to make sure they could retain them as long as possible.
“I wanted to keep that tight-knit group together,” he says. “They’re very proficient, very respectful of each other and they get along so in order to keep our staff employed full-time, the shareholders bought the other business.”
Holmy’s Pizzas are sold in rural locations like Beausejour, Garson, Tyndall where takeout pizza isn’t always right around the corner.
“We specialize in a frozen pizza that you can throw in the oven and it’s just like making it yourself,” Aitkenhead explains.
Bothwell Cheese is also used on the Holmy’s Pizzas which come in 12-inch or 15-inch sizes. Varieties include family favourites such as, Cheese, Canadian, Ham & Pineapple, Meat Lover, Pepperoni & Mushroom, Pepperoni Lover, Pepperoni & Bacon, and finally the Hungry Holmy which has a little bit of everything.
“Our pizzas always contain fresh ingredients,” Aitkenhead says. “We try to keep that quality consistent across all our products.”
If you’d like to purchase bulk orders of products from Perfect Pierogies, Aitkenhead recommends you visit their plant in Garson, MB.
“We do encourage people to buy directly from us – maybe for socials, weddings, birthday parties – when you need 3 pizzas of more, we’re your guy. As far as frozen Pierogies go, we have over 200 cases of frozen product always ready to be shipped.”
And if your organization is looking for the “perfect” fundraiser, Perfect Pierogies can hook you up!
“We have an excellent fundraising package. We set our price and then the organization sets their margins and we go from there. Groups enjoy the fact that we can run fundraisers from 5 people selling to 250 people selling – we’ve never had any problems stocking product for any organization.”
Perfect Pierogies is always expanding and the future looks bright. Aitkenhead says he made it his mission to expand the business and the plan seems to be working.
“We do have a fantastic product and we saw significant growth in the last year,” he says. “We’re also thinking of purchasing a new building just because, at this point, we’re outgrowing the school. We’re up to 16 employees here along with the drivers and shareholders.”
You know you’re doing things right when the harshest critics start buying your products instead of working tirelessly in the kitchen to make their own.
“Babas will phone me and say ‘I’m tired of making pierogies myself’,” Aitkenhead says. “So they buy our products instead and they keep coming back year after year.”
For more information about Perfect Pierogies, you can visit their website.