When Alec Mikhaylov emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 1992, he settled in Chicago and then later Arlington Heights and then Vernon Hills to be near family members.
But he noticed something was missing. The flavor of his homeland. Sausage.
He opened Alef Sausage Co. in Chicago in 2000 and later moved to a new factory in 2005 in Mundelein, which has since expanded with 18 employees who make 40 different types of dried and smoked sausage products that are distributed to 30 states and Canada.
"My mind is always thinking of new products," Mikhaylov said. "How can I create something else?"
He adheres to old-world Eastern European recipes to make sure the products are authentic, cater to other Europeans and provide a taste of Europe to other Americans, he said.
That's why you'll see Nezhnaya made of chicken, Arbatskaya, Bologna Doctorskaya, and Mortadella Stolichnaya, each made with pork. There are other products made with veal and beef as well.
While his mind never stops thinking of the company, he also works long hours, from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. His wife Lyubov and daughter Marina also work at the business, he said.
Although the hours are long, they are labors of love for Mikhaylov.
"When you are the owner, you can't stop thinking of the business and how to make it better," he said.
Changes for Elgin restaurant
George Karas and his nephew Bob Karas, co-owners of Alexander's in Elgin, said they closed the restaurant after 26 years so it can be renovated and it will reopen in November under the management of another family member. Aleko Karas, 27, will manage Alexander's with Bob. Aleko has been working for the family for four years at the Village Squires in Crystal Lake and McHenry. Bob Karas, who also owns Rookies Sports Bar and Grill and the Village Squires in Dundee and South Elgin, will be Aleko's mentor. Together they will create the new Alexander's concept, the family said.
Realtor honored by Latino group
Luigui Corral, broker/owner of RE/MAX United in Wheeling, has been named one of the Top 250 Latino real estate agents nationwide by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. He ranked 27th in the nation and second in Illinois among Latino agents. This was Corral's second consecutive appearance on the list.
She's making donations
Marianne Hofmann, a broker with Charles Rutenberg Realty in Naperville, has asked LinkedIn members and clients to let her know their favorite local charitable organizations. Each month, she makes a $100 donation to a different organization.
John DiVito, president of Rosemont-based Flexible Benefit Service Corp., said it is marking its 25th anniversary in the health insurance industry. ... Mike Rosen of Chicago has opened a franchise of The Maids cleaning service in West Chicago that will serve Lombard, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Addison, Glendale Heights, Villa Park and surrounding communities.
Alonzo Greene of Chicago is a new account executive for Elk Grove Village-based Des Plaines Office Equipment and will operate from the company's downtown Chicago location. ... Doctors Ashley Moja, Tad Nair, Ariel Polish, Eliseo R. Roquiz and Summer Wirth have joined Downers Grove-based DuPage Medical Group. ... Terry Howerton of Elmhurst and co-founder of TechNexus, a venture collaborative, has been elected to the board of directors of the National Business Incubation Association. His three-year term starts Oct. 1.
Kurt Miller, assistant vice president and SBA portfolio manager; Julianne Jiles, SBA loan reviewer; Peggy Griffin, senior loan operations specialist; and Lindsay Lorig, administrative assistant, Special Assets Group. Luke Keltner was promoted to portfolio manager, from his previous position as a credit analyst, all at Ridgestone Bank in Schaumburg.
Anita Padilla, a news reporter with WFLD FOX 32 in Chicago will be the keynote speaker at 6th annual Hispanic Scholarship Gala, on Sept. 20 hosted by the Lake County Chamber of Commerce at the ThunderHawk Golf Club and Lodge in Beach Park. ... Roberta Duguid, general manager of the Lake Forest Health and Fitness Center said the center has been recognized among the top five hospital-owned health clubs in the country by Club Industry magazine. ... Teri List-Stoll joined the Kraft Foods Group as senior vice president of finance and will succeed Chief Financial Officer Timothy McLevish early next year.
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