A tale of two dogs…canine and hot dog
Laura Pakis of Acme Canine and Mark Weilbacher of Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company share the same name, but they didn’t know each other. They also share more than a name; they share a philosophy and ideal of running their businesses. And they also share a common interest in dogs, just not the same kind of dogs.
Laura’s dog business is “the premier dog training experience,” while Mark doesn’t train dogs, but he serves old favorites done up a new way. The Acme Hotdog and Sausage Company is Weilbacher’s first go at a restaurant. Mark spent the previous 12 years heading a nonprofit business association and had started his career as a banker. “I decided to do this instead of getting a Harley Davidson,” Weilbacher says. “It seems to have the same level of danger, but we’re having fun.”
Acme Canine owner Laura Pakis has been a professional dog trainer for years and founded the Lewis Center-based business six years ago. She is certified in breed selection, puppy development, assistance dog training, basic and advanced obedience, Police K-9 and protection training, tracking, E-touch training, Pack to Basics, and pet first aid. While browsing the web, “I noticed on the Acme Hot Dog and Sausage Co. website that “The Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company is committed to investing in the charitable needs and the quality of life in Columbus and Franklin County,” says Laura. “Acme Canine believes in giving back to the community through events such as Woofie’s Birthday Fun Walk and volunteering our services to raise funds for nonprofit dog-related organizations and educating the public on responsible dog ownership.”
But how does a dog trainer hook up with a hotdog vendor? Laura made the first move by contacting Mark after checking out the Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company’s website. “I contacted Mark about the opportunity to work with him on an event to raise money for WALOP, a nonprofit organization Acme Canine has pledged to assist. I love hot dogs. Also, anyone who names their company Acme has to be an exceptional individual.”
“It’s nice of Laura to say that,” says Mark with a smile. Weilbacher has spent the last two years building his Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company into what he likes to call a “destination eatery.” Though the two owners had no previous associations, they’d chosen Acme for similar reasons. The name had a particular resonance for each of them.
“When Mark and I met, we discussed how we came up with the Acme name. Neither of us had thought of the benefits of having a company name that started with the first letter of the alphabet, “explains Laura. “We came up with the name Acme for two other reasons. Both of us shared good memories of the nostalgic Acme Company and how it could fix anything, and surprisingly enough, we both shared the more intellectual reason of Acme’s definition, meaning “the highest level or degree attainable; the highest stage of development.” For both our companies, that means the best hot dogs and the best-trained dogs!”
As the two struck up a friendship, they decided that their combined interests could benefit others while providing valuable exposure for both businesses.
After more discussion, Mark invited Acme Canine to participate in the Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company Hot Dog Eating Contest on Sunday, August 7. 2020 at the Columbus Baptist Church at 5075 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, from 11 am until 12:30 pm. The hotdog-eating contest is styled after the famous Nathan’s Coney Island hotdog eating contest, held every summer in New York. Mark wanted to bring that kind of contest to Columbus as “something new, fresh and exciting, and to start a new Columbus summer tradition.” Mark and Laura, along with the Acme staff, came up with a costume contest for the dogs to coordinate the event. The contest theme is to dress up the dogs in costumes representing the Acme Hotdog combo items from the menu. “With all of the different menu items we have, the possibilities are endless,” laughs Mark.
The Acme duo and the contest decided to set up a series of events featuring both Acme businesses. The first Hot Diggity Dogs! Event is on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm and focuses on fun and good eats for the entire family. The first of a monthly series of clinics, the Hot Diggity Dogs! The event is a chance for dog lovers to “bone up” on responsible dog ownership and learn some new tricks while helping to support the Meals on Wheels We Love Our Pets (WALOP) program. Participants who bring a pet food item as a donation will receive a special dog treat. The event will be held on the patio at Acme Hotdog & Sausage Company, located at 4989 Cleveland Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Admission is free for the monthly events.