Skip Navigation

Small Business Success: The Commissary Deli & Smoked Meats

Small Business Success: The Commissary Deli & Smoked Meats

A long-standing family-run mom and pop, The Commissary Deli is a true gem among Thunder Bay’s small business community. Famous for sausage and other smoked meats, The Commissary has been serving Thunder Bay for over 80 years. It was originally established as Kutnic’s in the 1930s and has since been passed down two generations to sisters Rosie, Suzie, and Marie, along with their brother Steven, who re-opened the business full time in 2004.

You can expect a unique shopping experience at The Commissary that is a mix of wholesome goodness and authenticity with a slight ‘old country European’ feel. The warm and welcoming atmosphere and ‘homey’ culture makes the regulars feel like part of the family. The store is a real staple for the East End, catering to neighbouring residents and nearby businesses, but it also attracts frequenters from all over the city, region, and across the US border.

The Commissary used Entrepreneur Centre services to access $217,000 in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to help cover the costs of a new facility and equipment after the store suffered major flood damage in 2012. The new processing plant is state of the art, constructed from the ground up, and sets the bar for food handling and safety standards.

Commissary smoked meats are wheatless, gluten-free, and contain no additives or fillers, appealing to customers with an appetite for locally produced meat products made with simple and wholesome ingredients. The Commissary also does meat processing for local farmers, turning their hogs and cows into smoked sausage, hams, hocks, bacon, and other cured and smoked meats. The Commissary’s homemade pickles are made with Belluz Farms cucumbers and you can find locally made goods from businesses such as bears’ bees & HONEY, Carol’s Cakes, Polish Legion and Five Star Bakery in store.

The business sponsors and donates to many local causes including Shelter House, youth in hockey, and various other organizations. As a family who has been affected by cancer, The Commissary organized the Save the Ta-Tas fundraiser held in March, an even that raised over $16,000 for the Northern Cancer Research Fund.

Co-owner Marie says supporting fellow businesses and the community is what The Commissary is all about. “We’re always willing to do whatever we can to help our neighbours, partners, and customers. Our grandparents and parents who ran the business before us passed down a very strong sense of community and it’s in our nature and company culture to want to give back to the community that has supported us over the years.”

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre offers FREE and confidential services to help small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. Their one-to-one business counselling, comprehensive information, consulting, and referral service make them a great first stop if you are starting a business or even thinking of starting a business. The Entrepreneur Centre (EC) can assist you to write a business plan, secure funding, and access other available resources. Call (807) 625-3960 to book an appointment or visit

Thunder Bay CEDC/Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre

Back to the CEDC Blog