FACES IN THE CROWD
FACES IN THE CROWD: CHRISTINE EBERHART!
Great article written by Gene Bodnar of The Clare County Review!
The Clare County Review article:
Damon DuBois, the Executive Director of the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce, recommended that I interview Christine Eberhart, the new owner of CULA FOODS located at 1509 N. McEwan in Clare (now located at 418 North McEwan, Clare), who recently joined the chamber. I contacted her on Facebook and arranged a telephone interview for the next day.
Christine was born in Clare Osteopathic Hospital in 1970. She resided in Clare, attending the Clare public school system through the 4th grade. In her 5th grade, the family moved to Harrison, so she attended the Harrison public school system, Class of 1988. She participated in track during high school, where she loved hurdling. Through the Harrison Dance and Creativity Center, she was also an avid gymnast. In addition, she was a cheerleader and her senior year she was voted President of her class.
While still a teen, she headed for Florida with some friends. She returned to Clare when she decided to start a family. Christine has 3 children she is very proud of:
• Audrey, 30, who is a Protective Service Case Manager for the State of Michigan.
• Taylor, 27, who is the Community Programs Supervisor of the Oakland County Community Housing Network, an organization that helps our homeless population.
• Bobby, 22, who is a United States Marine currently stationed in North Carolina.
Christine also has 3 wonderful grandchildren (now 4!).
After Christine returned to Clare, she began working for the Doherty Hotel and Conference Center, first as a waitress and bartender, then Sales Associate and eventually, she was promoted to General Manager – a job that lasted nearly 16 years.
Next, she joined Kim Denton when Kim purchased Clare Family Fitness as her Business Manager. She also taught strength and boxing classes for women.
Sadly, after working for Kim for only a short time, Christine learned she had some health issues requiring surgery. While healing from the surgery, she experienced a devastating stroke. She lost vision on the right side in both eyes and also lost some mobility in her right arm and leg. She spent 4 years recovering in Gladwin. Today, Christine says it was a long journey back; she will always be recovering from the stroke, but she is ready to embrace her new normal.
When Christine returned to Clare after her long recovery, she met with Kim Denton to catch up. During that lunch, Kim told Christine about opening Cula. After discussing with her better half, Joseph Smith, Christine approached Kim about purchasing Cula, as Christine felt she was ready to make her comeback. She felt her life had come full circle, as her stroke was diagnosed by Thomas Claringbold, DO in the very same place that her cafe is located. She also loves the fact that she is working right next to Kim, and she is able “to contribute again to the community that I love. I get teary-eyed sometimes.”
Cula offers an ever-evolving menu of healthy, delicious eats and treats. It offers an amazing variety of healthy foods, with a wonderful attentive staff. You can dine in if you like in their cozy atmosphere. Bring friends and unwind at Cula. You can also read, write, or soak up their Wi-Fi. When you’re finished, you can take some of their goodies home.
Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, and s ides are offered on their menu, which currently contains no less than 28 house-made items. Let’s sample a few of items, just to make your mouth start watering:
BERRIES & CREAM OAT BOWL – Mixed berries, steel cut oats, ground flax seed, chia, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla.
BULLETPROOF COFFEE – Fresh-brewed coffee, unsweetened almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla protein powder and cinnamon.
THE HANDLEBAR (CULA’S SIGNATURE SANDWICH) – blackberry jam, sliced jalapeno, Swiss cheese slices, and bacon on grilled sourdough bread.
CHICKEN TERIYAKI BOWL – House-roasted chicken breast, brown rice, broccoli, pineapple chunks topped with sesame seeds, lo mein noodles, and house-made teriyaki sauce.
I asked Christine if she had any pet peeves. She responded that she dislikes rudeness in any form, whether it be vocal or by actions.
I asked her if she had someone who she admired, and why. She answered naming Howard Haskin, the Clare County Sheriff who passed away recently. When she was in high school, she had some serious family problems, and the state was going to take her and place her in foster care. Howard Haskin had never met her, but still took her in and gave her a place to live. “He saw something in me when nobody else did, and he kept me out of foster care. I learned a lot from him. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I came to realize how important he and his advice was in my life. I did finally get a chance to thank him when I worked at the Doherty.”
Christine has two talents that few people know a bout. First of all, she is an adept artist, and she loves sketching and painting in acrylics. She also loves to sing, especially old country and gospel music.
If she could be anywhere else but here, right this minute, she would love to be at home with all three of her children.
When she was about 10 years old, she thought that someday she would be a gymnast.
How does she wish people would remember her? “As kind,” she replied.
In three words, Christine describes herself as “Crazy, Outgoing, and Happy.” She believes that her colleagues would use the same words to describe her. However, she added that they would include “super-particular,” because she’s highly detail-oriented and fusses a lot of over little things.
Before she dies, Christine would love to stay at a castle in Ireland.
Two things she would like to accomplish within the next year: 1) Make Cula Foods successful, and 2) Make herself stronger than she was before her stroke.
When she is not working, she loves doing anything outdoors, like running or hiking. Since she is so fitness-oriented, she also loves working out with friends. And she especially loves “laughing with my friends.”
A motto she lives by: “No rain, no flowers. You have to have bad times to appreciate the good.”
Later this year, Christine will become involved in an event with the American Heart Association, which will coincide with the 5th anniversary of her stroke.
Her favorite book is “The Applause of Heaven.”
Her favorite movie is “Rhinestone,” which she described as a silly movie starring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone. She stated that although she has watched it thousands of times, it still makes her belly laugh.
Her favorite food is bacon cheeseburgers and her favorite musician is Don Williams.
I asked her what her greatest stress on her job was. At the time of this interview, the coronavirus was nearing its peak, so she feels greatly stressed and hopes her cafe can make it through this event.
The most rewarding part of her job is having happy customers. Christine says she loves to try fresh options to get people excited about healthy food options, and her main goal is to always keep her customers happy.
The most difficult part of her job is maintaining inventory and keeping up with the costs of goods.
I asked if she had a most embarrassing moment. She replied that she’s had many of them. On one occasion, she had dry skin, so she started using a skin lotion regularly. However, the more she used the lotion, the drier her skin became. Her daughter looked at the bottle of lotion and discovered it was not skin lotion at all. It was liquid soap.
Christine says her greatest compliment occurred when a friend told her, “You make a difference.”
...offering vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and keto options every day and so very much more!
...You can visit them on www.culacafe.com, where you can place an order from their menu. You can also find them on Facebook. Their telephone: (989) 424-6455.