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Article updated: 3/11/2013 5:43 AM

Kriser's born out of love for pets

By Anna Marie Kukec

There were pets in Highland Park native Brad Kriser's home since he was a newborn and his family owned a poodle named Coco. It seems natural now that he's married with four children that they have two dogs, turtles and fish.

His longtime experience and love for animals has led him to start a new chain of retail stores called Kriser's, offering all-natural foods for dogs and cats. The expanding chain opened its 17th store last week in Kildeer at 20291 N. Rand Road and the next will open this summer in Glen Ellyn. More are expected to open in other states, he said.

"I wanted to wake up every single morning and just love what I do," he said.

Now he does, he said.

The former account manager for an Internet company became an entrepreneur in 2000 when he and his brother, Matt Kriser, opened The Barking Lot, which offered pet boarding, training, grooming and supplies in Chicago and Deerfield. They started offering all-natural pet foods there, based on his discovery of the products when he briefly lived in Colorado a few years before. The products have no corn, soy or other byproducts.

"It was a small market then for all-natural pet food, but they became more and more popular," Kriser said. "That's when I realized there was a market here for this."

In 2006, Brad Kriser started a new business called Kriser's, which opened stores in Wilmette, Park Ridge, South Barrington and later more in Colorado and California. He enjoyed California so much, he relocated his family to Calabasas, Calif. His brother, who lives in Highland Park, continues to run The Barking Lot stores as a separate business.

Kriser's offers an extensive lineup of natural foods as well as other products and supplies and grooming, helping to earn the company Best Overall Multi-Unit Pet Retailer in the United States during the 2013 Global Pet Expo, he said.

"We're referred to as the Whole Foods for pets," he said.

Promoting rich kids

Naperville author Melanie Jane Nicolas will be signing her book, "Raising Wealthy Kids." and talking with parents after a 10 a.m. breakfast on Saturday at the Sugar Grove Library. She is also founder of Kids Wealth International Club and the Association of Proud Parents Educating About Riches.

'Cube dude' goes to manager

Carol Stream resident Kim Gieser was named the Lego Brand Retail District Manager of the Year 2012 at the store manager conference in Boston last week. Gieser, who is the Lego Brand retail district manager of the north central region, received a plaque and a cube dude model constructed in Lego brick.

Expanding bank opens to new site

Pat Benton, market president of First Community Bank of Naperville; and bank board members John Freiburger, Dan Casey, Scott Wehril, Ray Kinney and Kevin Gensler along with Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel andSteven Randich, president of First Community Bank of Joliet, were on hand to unveil the new bank at 24 W. Gartner, Suite 104, in Naperville.

FastTrack

William D. Chapman, senior director of investor relations, and his team at Lake Forest-based W.W. Grainger Inc. were honored last week by Institutional Investor magazine as America's top Investor Relations Company and top Investor Relations professional in 2013. ... Thomas C. Freyman, chief financial officer for Libertyville Township-based Abbott, will be a presenter at the Barclays Capital 2013 Global Healthcare Conference Thursday in Miami, Fla.

Mike Brennan, chief operating officer of Skokie-based Peapod and Paul Steinberg, chief technology officer of Motorola Solutions will be part of a panel to discuss how technology is changing the way consumers shop at 8 a.m. Thursday at Moto's campus in Schaumburg. ... Owner Vivian Grant has opened Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva and plans a ribbon cutting on Tuesday and a grand opening celebration on March 23.

Regional Safety Manager Wesley Salmons of Advanced Disposal in Batavia was selected as one of the 2013 Waste & Recycling News' Rising Stars. Salmons was chosen from 70 nominations for the industry's future leaders. The recipients were published in the Waste & Recycling News March 4 edition. Salmons is in charge of maintaining safety in four states and at more than 50 sites, including hauling facilities, transfer stations, landfills and material recovery facilities. ... Carolyn Gerard, principal of Warrenville-based Gerard Design, said her marketing communications firm recently was certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

The Publicity Club of Chicago has recruited a number of suburban business leaders, including First Vice President David Brimm of BrimmComm Inc. in Deerfield, Secretary Carlye Fallon of Edelman in Chicago and lives in Glenview; Immediate Past President David Smolensky of Resolute Consulting in Chicago and lives in Highland Park. Board members from the suburbs include Erin Brooks of Harper College in Palatine and a Buffalo Grove resident; and Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz of JJR Marketing in Aurora and a North Aurora resident, and Debra Lawrence of Illinois workNet Center in Arlington Heights.

Chef Emeril "Bam" Lagasse was hanging out last week at The Purple Pig restaurant in Chicago with owner Jimmy Bannos Jr. His father, Jimmy Bannos owns Heaven on Seven restaurants in Chicago and Naperville. ... Oncologists Daniel Frank and Neel Shah start today at the DuPage Medical Group in Hinsdale. ... Cardiologist Micah J. Eimer has been named medical director of Northwestern Medicine's newest north suburban clinic, the Glenview Outpatient Center, which opened March 1. Eimer joins the medical staff of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and will see outpatients in Glenview and in Lake Forest. ... Wilmette resident Sandy Villesvik has joined MB Financial Bank as managing director of MB Capital Markets in Chicago.

ŸThere's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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