There’s a new trend sweeping local cuisine and we have two very ambitious entrepreneurs to thank for it. In a city known for its fries-there’s a new side dish making waves. Since its inception in June of 2014, Heather Denning and Michael Genovy have been the dynamic duo behind OB1Pierogi. They have taken a niche market and made it a hot commodity.
Their product can now be found in five local restaurants (Dockside, Sideways, Limbo, Grind and Chow Ciao at last count). They are able to go above and beyond for restaurants, offering a unique Pierogi flavour to enhance and complement the existing menu. They offer a Pierogi of the month, with an existing menu of 11 flavours to choose from. In additional to traditional flavours like Potato and Cheddar, you will find the amped up alternatives – Potato Cheddar Sriracha. You will also see some unique Pierogi interpretations like Poutine, Reuben and Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza flavours. Some Pierogis of the Month have been so popular they have become regular menu items and bring such unique interpretations as Jalapeno Bacon Cheddar , Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese and Asparagus Bacon Onion Gorgonzola. In addition to the wide selection, Heather and Michael have taken dietary restrictions into consideration – teaming up with Junior Baker to create some variations with specialty Gluten-Free dough, and also offering some Lactose-free options.
Part of the strength of their model lays in strong collaboration with other Small Business owners. Heather and Michael were fortunate to team up with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation when they considered taking a talent for Pierogi making (and at the urging of friends and family who had been enjoying them for years) and taking the leap to Entrepreneur. There, they were able to learn the basics of running a Small Business, creating a business plan and the due diligence required to bring it all together into one successful package. Their experience was so positive that they subsequently referred many others to access SLBDC services and take their own ideas from start to fruition.
While they certainly hoped that friends and family were right, they had no idea they would find themselves outgrowing their newly crafted commercial kitchen in less than a year. After a great success at the Big Sisters Show and Sale last year, they decided to increase their product this year – and they still sold out. In fact, they sold over 500 dozen of their unique goodies. During the warmer months, you can also find them at the Point Edward Moonlight Farmers Market. Additionally, they offer their product for fundraising purposes to community groups, schools and sports teams alike.
When asked what the best part of being entrepreneurs is, Michael cites the freedom to work their own schedule. Managing a young family played a strong role in the development of their business protocol and being the boss allowed them to incorporate their own rules (for example – “the stove turns off at 5pm” whenever possible). With the much appreciated support of friends and family, both promoting and cooking when needed, they have made it work seamlessly, avoiding the burnout and beginner mistakes that plague so many. At the moment, the only competition Ob1 Pierogi faces is of the frozen, mass produced variety which is available in supermarkets. One taste, and you can see why there really is no comparison! If you haven’t tried them yet – you really must.
If you would like to know more about Ob1 Pierogi, you can find their menu and place orders directly from their website at www.ob1pierogi.com. They can also be found on Facebook, or can be reached by phone at (519) 312-7091.