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135-year-old Victoria Chinese butcher shop seeks new owner to continue legacy

Click to play video: 'North America’s oldest Chinese business up for sale'
North America’s oldest Chinese business up for sale
North America's longest- running chinese business is located right here in our provincial capital. Loy Sing- a Chinese butcher shop- has been operating for more than a hundred years - and it's up for sale. As Kylie Stanton reports - the owners are hoping their legacy remains as it is. – Jan 5, 2024

It’s been a staple of Victoria’s Chinatown for well over a century, serving up a simple menu of classic Chinese delicacies.

From a small, cash-only storefront on Fisgard Street, Loy Sing Meat Market has been dishing up hot barbequed pork, crispy skin pork, soy sauce chicken and duck since 1889.

“Crispy pork is the good one,” owner Daniel Zheng told Global News on Friday.

It’s believed to be North America’s oldest continuously operating Chinese business.

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But after 30 years at the helm, owners Zheng and Shelly Rong want to retire. Now they, and Victoria’s Chinese community, are hoping to recruit a new owner to keep the legacy alive.

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“What would be needed to make sure it continues this title? It has to continue making the items, the four main items. If other items are added, that’s fine, but at least these four items need to still be served here,” spokesperson Charlayne Thornton-Joe explained.

“People that are looking for these items will come here because it has been made the same way since 1889 — probably the only difference is some of the family members of the original owners said they would have to do the plucking of the chicken and the duck.”

The new owner, or at least one person in a partnership taking over, would ideally have Chinese heritage as well.

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“This has become part of the legacy of Chinatown,” said Thomas Chan, chair of Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, which owns the building.

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“In order to keep the heritage we would like to see this business continue to run as a butcher shop, and hopefully, it’s Chinese-owned.”

The owners are asking $75,000 for the business, and are willing to train whoever takes over on butchery and the core recipes.

“Members of the Chinese community … we all want to make sure the legacy of what this business was continues for the future,” Thornton-Joe said.

“It’s not as much of trying to find someone to buy the business, it’s more someone that will continue the business.”

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In their 30 years at Loy Sing’s helm, Thornton-Joe said the owners have watched entire generations grow up as a part of the community.

They’ve also poured blood, sweat and tears into the business, working seven days a week for much of their tenure, while putting three children through university.

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With the kids now grown, they’re hoping to travel, she said.

“They have taken very few days off, they’ve never travelled long distances mainly because they couldn’t leave the shop, and they are extremely hardworking. They have earned their retirement.”

If you’re in Victoria and hope to sample one of their signature dishes, you can find Loy Sing at 554 Fisgard St.

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