March 6, 2024

The Nesvog family behind Nesvog Meats: From left, Connor, Arnold, Cameron, Josh and Ingrid

NANAIMO – Every member of the family has a stake in Nesvog Meats.

Or make that steak, and chicken, and sausages, and pepperonis, and vegetables, and pre-made meals, and. . .

The Nesvog Meats success story is all about a local family working hard together and taking calculated risks that have made the shop a must stop for local connoisseurs and cooks.

Founders Arnold and Ingrid Nesvog worked together at the former Co-op Grocery Store on Bowen Road. Arnold started as a 13 year old clean-up kid, and worked his way up to become a top meat cutter, and Ingrid was the deli girl. They met on the job and eventually married.

“They are both local Nanaimo people, and when Co-op closed in 2004, they already had kids, so they said ‘what are we going to do?’,” says daughter-in-law Jenn Nesvog, who is married to Josh Nesvog and handles the marketing and health promotion for the stores at Terminal Park and on Bowen Road. “They had a big house and three little kids, and one day they were driving past Terminal Park and said ‘let’s take our own shot and open a meat shop’. Ingrid had the deli side of the business.”

Nesvog Meats store in Terminal Park is the family business headquarters

Nesvog Meats officially opened on November 3, 2005, and they doubled their size in 2010, and expanded again in 2017. In 2014 they purchased Piper’s Meats on Bowen Road to give them a second location, and they now have close to 50 employees between the two outlets.

“Arnold and his eldest son Josh have been cutting meat together for years,” says Jenn. “Josh started cleaning the shop when he was 14. When Cameron was 12 and Connor was 8, all of the boys had to work at the store after school. It was as Ingrid said: ‘We lived there.’

“Ingrid has the most extraordinary customer service ethic,” Jenn adds. “She is a role model to us all. She taught us to welcome customers in as if they were guests in our home, and 18 years later, we are an expanding family business and every member of the family is an owner/employee.”

Josephine, Cameron’s wife, works in the deli at the meat shop, while Deonya, Connor’s wife, helps out during the Christmas season.

The Bowen Road acquisition gave them another location on one of Nanaimo’s busiest streets, and features more of a freezer food selection, with vacuum-sealed products that are easy to use and ready to grab. They also offer raw dog food options like beef bone marrows, ground chicken carcasses, organ meat and liver treats.

A wide variety of sausages are samples of food made at Nesvog Meats

Terminal Park is a full service store, and the company hub.

“We support local wherever possible,” says Jenn. “We get local beef and lamb and turkeys from Gabriola Island. We buy fresh, seasonal produce from farms on the Island.

“We do store-made everything,” she adds. “Saus-ages, bacon, ham, pepperoni, beef jerky, hot dogs, burgers and more, and then we have really fun unique products like seasonally prepared specialty meats, turkey rolls and even turducken – which is a roast that includes turkey, duck and chicken.”

Beef tallow is a recent addition.

“The boys have started rendering down beef fat to make beef tallow as a really great substitute for cooking oils,” Jenn states. “It’s a healthy fat that’s close to nature. In addition to reducing our waste, we’re also using the tallow to make our own hand-made soap that we sell at the store.”

They also offer store-made banana bread and their famous chocolate chunk cookies.

Ready-made meals have long been a popular staple.

“Our products are healthy food, made easy,” she explains. “We have all kinds of tasty meals that can be taken home and are ready to cook and eat. We are also well known for the sausages and smokies we make here, everything from chicken, turkey, pork, lamb and beef to elk, buffalo and venison pepperoni.”

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