AmBari Nutrition has grown out of its three Avon Lake warehouses and will build a 16,000-square-foot headquarters in Amherst Township.
Ross Builders of North Ridgeville has started clearing land to prepare for construction on Rt. 58, just south of Rt. 113.
An enormous warehouse section will be finished in early 2018, with offices, a storefront, yoga studio, and smoothie bar coming shortly after. An indoor rock climbing wall will be added by the end of next year, and outdoor sand volleyball courts could follow.
“We’ve all been into health and fitness our entire lives,” said Heidi Huffman, a registered nurse whose family runs AmBari Nutrition. “We’ve been in all kinds of sports… in the past couple of years, we started going rock climbing. We loved it, we wanted to do it more and more. But there’s no place nearby.”
Huffman is a 2005 graduate of Amherst Steele High School. Her siblings are all alumni too — brothers Dustin, Kevin, and Drew graduated in 2004, 2002, and 2000, respectively. Their mother Beth is also involved in the business, while their father, also named Kevin, is a doctor of bariatrics.
That’s where the name AmBari comes from. It’s short for “American Bariatrics,” Heidi said. The branch of medicine deals with obesity.
The company launched a little over a decade ago from the younger Kevin’s college dorm room. Heidi said he decided to create a website about protein products used for weight loss and general health. They’re often used by people who have had gastric bypass surgery, since protein helps the body heal.
Products are sold primarily online. Heidi said the non-warehouse parts of the huge building were conceived as “something that’s not a bar, where you can have a good time, have fun, and be active.”
AmBari has sponsored races, marathons, wheelchair rugby, and the Lorain Growth Corp.’s Brewfest.
The Avon Lake operation has 10 employees. The Huffmans hope to double the roster during the first year in Amherst Township.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.