In the North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kucher’s Ukrainian Bakery (KUB Bakery dba KUB Bread) was established in 1923 by Alex Kucher and his partners, A. Andrychuck, N. Doskuch and L. Stoyich. Nearly six decades later, the Einfeld family purchased KUB Bakery and still carries on the family bread making tradition today. As one of the oldest bakeries in the city, KUB Bakery is a local icon, known for its hearth-baked rye and multigrain bread.
Lisa Perkovic, manager at KUB Bakery, grew up in the business along with her brothers, Jeff and Ross, the sales and floor managers of KUB Bakery. Lisa and her brothers took over the business in 2000 when their father retired.
“My father, James Einfeld, bought the bakery from Bill Kucher in 1982,” recounts Lisa. “Back then it was a small-scale operation. Bill originally sold bread out of his house with an attached bakery. There was no delivery — it was all pickup.”
A local legend
Since the Einfeld family took over, the bakery has undergone significant expansion and now ships products all over the world to customers looking for a taste of home, but Lisa says all items are still made from the original recipes. KUB Bakery’s claim to fame is its signature rye bread. “Our rye is regionally famous,” notes Lisa. “Our hearth-baked rye is a top seller, but our Red River Multigrain is also a big seller.”
Other breads the bakery makes include: pumpernickel, onion rye, marble rye, white and brown bread, cherry and fruit, raisin, French and garlic bread. KUB Bakery also offers dinner rolls, hot dog and hamburger buns, subs, Kaiser rolls and egg twists, as well as a range of pastry items such as cinnamon buns, cinnamon loaf, poppy seed loaves and Danish.
Lisa says the business has a few area competitors, which sometimes make competing in terms of price difficult, but she says KUB Bakery’s quality is second to none. “Our bread isn’t mass produced; it’s made in a more hands-on, traditional way,” she compares. “We still use the original Ukrainian recipe handed down from the previous owners that everyone around here loves and grew up eating. Other area bakers make rye but not at the same level. Our batches are smaller and handled by our artisanal bakers and hand-crafted in every level of the production process.”
Today, KUB Bakery employs 40 individuals and the company sells to wholesalers as well as retailers, restaurants and catering companies. “We sell direct to wholesale stores and large chains and also some small mom-and-pop shops and food service customers,” says Lisa. “Our main distribution range is within Winnipeg.”
As the bakery’s products have grown in popularity, KUB Bakery’s distribution range is also growing. “We have four drivers that deliver in Winnipeg daily and another four independent distributors that go outside of Winnipeg,” notes Lisa. “We ship into other parts of Manitoba and nearby provinces. We also have a driver that takes bread into the U.S. once a week to North Dakota and Minnesota to sell product to the states.”
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for KUB Bakery. The company currently has two locations – one of which is significantly larger because the original KUB Bakery location was destroyed in a devastating fire in 2008. “The major 2008 fire burned down our original location, but we have rebuilt and carried on,” says Lisa.
Aside from completely rebuilding a location, Lisa says the generational transition has proved to be a bit of a challenge for KUB Bakery. “My brothers and I have always been involved in the business since we were young, but when our father retired 15 years ago there were some big shoes to fill,” she says. “It’s also a challenge being in the city with close competition in pricing. While we can’t always compete with price, we can compete with our name recognition, which is synonymous with quality products.”
KUB Bakery is known for quality products and taking an active role in community sponsorship. The company is a proud supplier to the Winnipeg Goldeyes at the Shaw Park and Buhler Rec Park. “We have generously donated product to Winnipeg Harvest for the last 33 years and other local food banks and charities,” says Lisa. “We’re also the proud sponsor of one of the area’s largest social gatherings — the Manitoba Homecoming Social and Folklorama.”
Even through serious setbacks, the iconic local bakery has pushed forward. With a new location and a healthy outlook on the future, KUB Bakery continues to produce its famous hearth-baked rye and other beloved bakery items.