Berk Enterprises, located on Youngstown Rd. S.E. in Warren, has been known for years for their exterminating and coin business, but did you know that their paper supply division is the largest company within the Berk organization?
Berk Exterminating Co. was founded in 1946 by Suzanne Berk and the late Harold Berk after he graduated from Ohio State University and moved to Warren. According to Rob Berk, Harold's son and current president of Berk, his father formulated an insecticide that he named "QuicKill." With the city of Warren as one of his first commercial client, the business began.
QuicKill is still marketed today by Berk as an over the counter, ready to use insecticide for customers. It is sold throughout Ohio, and locally at Handyman Hardware, Andrews Hardware, and other local hardware stores.
His father was also interested in coins as a hobby, which developed into another Berk company. " When I was growing up it was very popular for children and adults to collect pennies, nickels, and quarters and put them into those old blue books, " recalled Berk. "Everyone collected coins back then. We continue to sell, buy, and appraise coins but it isn't as popular as it once was."
Berk said that after graduating from college in the late 70's, he came to work for his father to learn the business. He especially became interested in the paper products division and saw the potential in disposable paper products. He told his father thatr this was an area that he was very interested and wanted to pursue it. His father told the young Berk that if he has some ideas he would support him.
Berk Paper sells food service disposables such as cups, napkins, straws, carry-out containers, towels, and well you name it, anything you could possibly think of if it is a food service disposable item.
They sell to restaurants, hospitals, schools, and industrial and commercial establishments to name a few. Berk also sells to amusement parks, food concessionaires and major ride companies such as Bates Amusements, Brown Amusements, and J&J Amusements. Besides the products already mentioned, Berk supplies this industry with items such as sno-cone cups, cotton candy bags and souvenir cups.
"We've gone a step further by customizing these products and putting the company name on them. We are able to offer pricing better or equal to those with a generic design, " explained Berk. "we believe our aggressive marketinghas enabled us to create a strong following throughout the United States.
Berk said that their product offerings are based on customer demand. "If you would have told me we would be selling bottled water, I wouldn't have believed you" Berk said with a laugh.
In order to market his products, Berk constantly attends trade shows throughout the country displaying products and talking with businesses. Berk also has an external sales force for both the paper supply company as well as the exterminating company. Berk ships from coast-to-coast. In addition to food service disposable items, Berk also carries small wares, so that they sell to restaurants. Upon entering the store you can find such items as cooking pots, pans, bakewear, strainers, commercial spatulas, ladles, and your traditional salt and pepper shakers. They also handle janitorial supplies encompassing such products as cleaners and waxes, papertowels, and toilet tissue, trash can liners, brooms and mops.
Another company was recently formed within Berk Enterprises, known as Berkley Square. "We very recently purchased a company in St. Louis that makes caramel for candy apples, " said Berk. "Currently it is distributed East of the Mississippi, but we will be taking it nationwide."
Berk Enterprises has been locally owned and operated for over 53 years. Today three companies within Berk include: Berk Paper & Supply, Berk Exterminating, and Berk Rare Coins. Currently there are 25 employees within the divisions.