In entrepreneurship, it is said, if you fulfil a real need in an efficient way at a price people are willing to pay, you have the grounds for a successful business. Haidir Warraich opened up Cornerstone Meats because he was dismayed at the number of people in his Muslim community that were going to Vancouver to purchase their Halal Meats. We caught up with Haidir in his neighbourhood butcher shop on Quadra St. a block east of the Market on Yates. He is a 25-year-old Certified Professional Accountant who immigrated to Canada 10 years ago and moved to Victoria in 2014.
There is nothing pretentious about this butcher shop and one immediately notices its simplicity and focus on providing quality meats. Knowing where the meats come from and the animals are raised freely, fed naturally and slaughtered ethically is paramount to Haidir and is the cornerstone of his business. You won’t find many of the accessories or pantry trinkets that are often now associated with other speciality food stores and you will be pleasantly surprised the prices are substantially lower than the full sized grocery stores in the proximity. This is where the accountant in Haidir comes in. Great measures are taken to control inventory and cut necessary costs where possible. We continue our conversation and gradually migrate to cultural matters.
Halal meats are consumed by practising Muslims and are slaughtered in a ceremonial way that prides a peaceful and dignified environment, which typically includes a prayer of gratitude for the livestock sacrificing its life. This environment is said to significantly reduce the stress and fear hormones released at the time of the animal’s demise resulting in a meat that is much more tender. Studies have shown that the absence of the fear and stress induced hormones in the meat has a significant impact on the overall healthiness of the meat. Dictated by culture and religion, the extreme hygienic conditions ensure the butcher shop far exceeds industry related health standards. The net result is happier, healthier livestock, and a sense of gratitude for the life sacrificed. For those of us Islanders striving to better connect with the food we eat, here’s an opportunity.