At a get-together with friends in their Jewish community, Holly and Joel Sher received a suggestion to make a Kosher food that devout Jews could feed their pets during Passover week.
While Kosher dog and cat foods aren't Evangers Dog & Cat Food Co. Inc.'s top-selling products, they do symbolize the innovation and creativity the Shers have used since they purchased the Wheeling, Ill., company less than five years ago.
Innovation is what Holly Sher, the president of the company, attributes to their success.
In the five years under the Shers' ownership, the company has added four new product lines and now offers private labeling services.
"We've tripled our business since we've purchased the company," says Joel, the company's vice-president.
Evangers is growing by such leaps and bounds that plans are in place to expand the manufacturing facility or find a larger building so the Shers can meet the demand for requests.
The Shers use their background as owners of a raw materials distribution company to fuel their innovation. One of the company's new product lines features game meats, such as buffalo, duck, venison and pheasant.
At A Glance
Vice President:Joel Sher
Year Business Was Established:1935
Location of Company:Wheeling, Ill.
Number of Employees:45
Flagship Product:The hand-packed Hunk of Beef canned food line
"We have found materials that aren't that widely available but are available for our production, and we have built a brand around it," Joel says.
Hand-packed products, a unique product line, have been top-sellers for Evangers.
"When it goes into the can looking like human food, it also comes out looking like human food," he says. "Other companies grind the food up before they pack it."
The Shers also plan to make improvements to their products' packaging by using clear containers instead of cans for some product lines.
"We've played the role of an innovator in certain areas," he says. "In the future there are other areas we want to move forward into as well."
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