Cantor's - Celebrating 75 Years


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CONGRATULATIONS CANTOR'S ON 75 YEARS. From your proud supplier, sharing longevity in the community. Cutting-edge techniques to attract new leads and convert to paying customers. (204) 254-5136 History runs deep for Cantor's Meats B lossoming from humble beginnings, a mainstay Manitoba meat market is marking a milestone 75 years in business. Cantor's, the home of quality meats, has been serving generations of customers across the city since it first opened its doors in the early 1940s. It all began with Edward and Sara Cantor, who moved to Winnipeg from Poland along with their young twin sons, Oscar and Joseph, as well as another set of older twins, Lee and Lily. In an effort to eke out an existence in their new country, the entrepreneurial family began to sell small items such as buttons, thread and zippers to farmers in communities near Winnipeg. They also pounded the pavement, selling chickens and eggs door to door. Taking their small business to the next level, the hard-working couple launched their first storefront and sold a selection of groceries from the living room of their North End home, located on the corner of Dufferin Avenue and Salter Street. "They basically sold groceries, some fruit and vegetables, a little bit of meat and milk and eggs — just the bare necessities of products out of the house," says Ed Cantor, grandson of Edward and son of Joseph. "People would come into the store, and they would actually deliver too. My dad would go on his bike to deliver milk and eggs and chickens to people in the area. In those days, that's how you looked after people. And if people were short of money, you'd help them out with food and they would pay you back." Back in the 1940s, the area was bustling with railway workers employed with Canada Pacific Rail. "Everybody knew everybody. If customers asked to charge the food until next week or the end of the month, it was no problem," Cantor says. "Basically, they paid it back because they meant everything they said. Their word was their promise." Three years after he started the shop, Edward Cantor died. His wife Sara took over the home-based business with the help of her twin sons, who quit school to work alongside her. Joseph ended up being gone for several years after he was drafted to serve in the Navy during the Second World War as a decoder aboard an aircraft carrier. Oscar shouldered the extra workload at home, since he wasn't able to serve due to a heart murmur. After Joseph returned from the war, they expanded the family business to a location on Magnus Avenue, and later to a larger home with a storefront on Gallagher Avenue. "Again, they used the living room for their store and continued to sell groceries and fresh meat and produce and dairy. They lived upstairs in an apartment," Cantor says. "As it grew and grew and grew, it got better and better and better. In the mid '50s, my dad Joe and his brother Oscar would work in the store seven days a week from 8 in the morning to 11 at night." They employed a staff of about 10 people, and then they decided to get a little more adventurous by opening a full-service meat department. "This is when they really started to get famous with meats and customer service," Cantor says. 'They had very different approaches regarding fresh meat compared to a chain store." They continued to offer home deliveries and maintained about 200 charge accounts for their customers. "They gave amazing service. They carried the groceries out and would go the extra mile for that person. They would take customers' grocery orders over the phone and deliver the groceries," Cantor says. "They pulled a wagon behind them to take the groceries to customers in all weather. In the winter, they'd put on their parka and boots and pull a sled through rough weather. It didn't matter if it was rain, snow, blizzards, they'd take the customers their food." The business continued to boom, so they built four additions over the years to create more room to grow. "Business was good. There was no more room to expand in the building, which was almost 100 years old," says Cantor, who has been working at the family business since he was a teen. "In 2009, we started construction on a new store. My dad was happy at the old store, but my uncle wanted to build a new store." For the past nine years, Cantor's Meats has been located in a 13,500-square-foot building at 1445 Logan Ave. The parking lot is where the previous store was situated. Although both Joseph and Oscar have died in recent years, the long-standing business continues to thrive under the third-generation leadership of Ed Cantor. ❚ "They gave amazing service. They carried the groceries out and would go the extra mile for that person. They would take customers' grocery orders over the phone and deliver the groceries..." Y EARS OF QUA L IT Y BY JENNIFER MCFEE CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF QUALITY View online at Top left photo: Ed, Joe and Oscar Cantor were all smiles as they posed during the construction of their new store on Logan Avenue. Top right photo: Construction was underway as Cantor's continued to grow bigger and better. Second row, left photo: Cantor's has been a destination in the North End for 75 years. Second row, right photo: Joe Cantor showcased some of the fresh fruits for sale in the produce section in 1999. Second photo from bottom: Ed Cantor displays a tray of pork products in the bustling meat depart- ment in 2015. Bottom photo: Twins Oscar and Joe Cantor took great pride in their family business. PHOTOS BY PHIL HOSSACK, WAYNE GLOWACKI, RUTH BONNEVILLE AND MARC GALLANT

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