The history of
We have been the Beef people for over 60 years.
It all began on June 1, 1954, when WWII Polish Immigrants Marian and Mary Heleniak travelled to the small town of Norwich, Ontario to look at a small custom butcher shop to buy and operate in hopes of providing for their young family.
The Heleniaks purchased the business on June 1, 1954 and called it Norwich Packers. For the next 20+ years, Marian operated Norpac as a family business, servicing local farmers in a local butcher-style operation, processing cattle and hogs. After these successful years of providing for his family and four sons (Richard, John, Stan, and Ron), Richard the eldest, took over management duties of the family business in 1974. Around the same time, the other brothers took an active role in the production and procurement side of the business to help Richard in his expansion plans. When business began to pick up, the youngest brother, Ron quit University to catapult the sales division of the expanding company.
With Norpac in the hands of the Heleniak brothers, it thrived and saw extensive growth throughout the 1980s and 90s. The end result was a larger scale, full- service processing plant offering first class wholesale and retail services.
The company sought a more reliable and consistent source of beef. Richard and Ron
decided the only way to ensure consistency was to create a unique, customized feeding process.
The program consisted of feeding Norpac cattle a newly invented whole corn
pellet ration, which contained no animal by-products. Once the program was
implemented, consistency and product quality dramatically increased.
After vastly growing the business, “Norpac” as it has become known, needed to decide if the would grow and compete with international corporations or vertically integrate to keep quality the main focus. The latter was chosen and the company started producing value added products and raising their own cattle.
To accomplish this in the 1990’s, Norpac built a larger scale fab room to efficiently produce their own brand of hand cut steaks, burgers, sausages, and so on. Simultaneously the program became so popular that other local farmers and the feedlots supplying Norpac adopted the program. Norpac still makes the program available today for farmers who wish to sell their cattle to the plant. Now, 20 percent of all the beef fed under the Norpac program are raised by the Heleniak family.
The 1990s and early 2000s saw significant expansion at Norpac with new product lines of beef and pork. The new products included:
– AAA portioned steaks
– An assortment of beef patties
– Beef and pork breakfast sausages
– Sweet pickled brisket and pork backs
– All beef franks
– Beef jerky
Where we are today
After Richard’s sudden and untimely death in 2005, Matthew Heleniak, Richards son—who was finishing up at Oklahoma state university—stepped into the business to fill some of his fathers duties.
Norwich Packers has continued to make it their mission to develop the most tender, healthy, and high quality beef in the world, while also adapting to the emerging markets desired by changing end user demands. During this time, Norpac also ramped up its cow/calf division to help produce bulls to create the desired cattle that Norpac needed.
Our principles are simple:
1. You should know where your food comes from;
2. Animals should be raised and treated with the utmost respect and care;
3. Support the local farmers who put the care and passion into producing
healthy, quality, and tasteful food;
4. Quality not quantity; and
5. Food should be grown in a clean and natural way.
Moving forward, Norpac aims to create an even better product by utilizing modern techniques and genetics while never sacrificing their old-fashioned quality approaches.
Norpac Beef pledges to remain the premier choice for beef product in the province. We treat our customers as we do our family: with honesty and integrity. We pledge to uphold the highest standards in cattle husbandry, procurement and precessing methods while maintaining the unwavering level of safety and quality you have come to expect from Norpac.