Menifee ‘Shop the Block’ event hosts family owned businesses

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By Liv Pearson

 A variety of small businesses gathered at Central Park in Menifee Nov. 26. 

Many of the participating small businesses are family owned and operated. 

A booth that seemed to draw attention was Annie’s Freeze Dried Treats, owned by Annie Novasel and her husband Larry, alongside their daughter Charissa.

“We offer a wide variety of freeze dried candies, fruit and ice cream,” Larry Novasel said. “We can do any flavor of ice cream that you can imagine.”

They said the business started with only freeze dried fruits and vegetables, they later began adding candy to their menu.

Another family owned business participating in the event was Famous PUDN, owned by Ernest Smith and his son.

“It was the first banana pudding business to open in the U.S.,” Taylor Cambric, who was running the booth, said. “Unfortunately (Ernest Smith’s) wife got sick, and they had to close down.”

In wanting to be an entrepreneur Ernest Smith’s son suggested that he and his father reopen. 

“We’ve been open for a year, we’re on to our second year and so far, so good!” Cambric said while serving a smiling customer.

Along with participating in farmers’ markets and traveling city to city catering, Famous PUDN has a storefront in Murrieta.

Father and son owned businesses were plentiful at the pop-up event like Dragon’s Breath Jerky, which is owned and operated by Peter Friederich and his son Parker Freiderich.

Friedrich started the business with his son following two decades of selling jerky for Savor Jerky. s.

The Fiederichs decided it was time to branch out when they began receiving requests from customers.

“We started doing Dragon’s Breath because people (ask) about hot and spicy jerky. It’s always good to see new faces,” said Friedrich. “It’s a great way to spread holiday cheer, and I get to spend time with my son.”

Dragon’s Breath offers 14 different flavors.

Family owned sweets shop, Valerie’s Apples has been in business for seven years.

“It’s a home-based business,” Mauro Calvillo, owner Valerie Calvillo’s brother, said. “We focus on is quality, so all our products are usually made within the 24 hours before being sold.”

They also offer a wide variety of baked goods such as cake pops, cookies, cupcakes and chocolate covered pretzels.

“We’re based in Perris, but we do come out to a lot of events in Menifee,” Calvillo said.

Valerie’s Apples also takes custom orders and can be found on Instagram @valeriesapples.

What’s a family business without grandma?

Muffin & Sunshine is a grandmother owned shop that offers beautiful scented homemade candles. Started in Lake Elsinore by Stephanie Smith who named the business after the nicknames given to her granddaughters.

Smith’s candle shop originally opened online one year ago. You can also shop at Muffin & Sunshine in-person at the Mornings on Main Farmers Market Sundays in Lake Elsinore.

Shop the Block gave small local businesses a chance to share their arts and present their talents to the community.

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