New businesses excited about their futures in Avon Lake

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Eric Huber, owner of Lake Erie Pet Food Co., delivers the company’s specialty dog and cat food right to customers’ front doors. (Photo courtesy of Eric Huber)

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Business is bubbling at Krav. The popular food truck opened a restaurant on Walker Road recently. (Press photo – Michele Murphy)

Avon Lake

by Michele Murphy

It’s hard to tell whether husband-and-wife team Julie and Eric Huber are more or less excited than Todd Berry when they talk about the businesses they opened in Avon Lake last year.

The Hubers own Lake Erie Pet Food Co., which offers home delivery of locally made, healthy food for dogs and cats. Berry and his partner, Kathy Sweringen, own Krav, a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine with Latin and Korean accents.

Actually, some may already be familiar with Krav, which has operated as a popular food truck for the past five years and has accumulated thousands of friends on its Facebook page. Berry explained, as their catering business has grown, the couple was looking for space and, when they saw a location they liked on Walker Road, decided to go for it. “We’re bringing the food truck inside,” Berry explains, as customers are served food in wrappers, just like they are when ordering from the truck when it’s in downtown Cleveland or Elyria.

Berry says he and Kathy liked “the feel” of Avon Lake. “It sort of reminds me of where I grew up,” he says, comparing the city to Norwalk where his dad operated a popular eatery. He says the city’s economic development director, Ted Esborn, was very supportive. “The mayor came in and ate a couple of times and bought gift cards,” he continued.

Berry is looking forward to 2017 with a number of catering engagements already planned, and seeing more people come to the restaurant as word gets out and the weather improves. When that occurs, he hopes to make additional hires to complement the five full-time employees he currently has.

The Hubers are in the food business, too, although their specialties are more appealing to four-legged creatures. The impetus for their business was the result of their frustration in trying to find healthy food options for their two aging dogs. They made a connection with a company near Youngstown that produces certified specialty foods for dogs and cats. “In 38 years, they have never had a recall,” Julie says. The problem was there was no local distribution outlet. So the couple created one. Since launching their business less than 18 months ago, they have built their customer base to more than 200.

They credit a portion of their success to participation in the business plan competition, sponsored by Avon Lake’s Community Investment Corporation (CIC). They were offered training Julie says was “very valuable.” As a result, their business plan won the competition, earning them $10,000. The Hubers are using the money to purchase a delivery vehicle.

As they add customers, they could be looking for a larger space from which to operate. They have no hesitation about staying in Avon Lake, where they live. “We feel welcome here,” she says, adding they are recent east-side transplants. “(It’s) a great choice.”

Berry is in agreement the city is business-friendly, summing it up one one word, “totally.”

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