by Angie Kay Dilmore
Eric Avery grew up in a home infused with entrepreneurial spirit. His father, Larry Avery, worked as a maintenance supervisor at Citgo while his mother Fran Avery, was a neurosurgical nurse. Together, Larry and Fran founded Aquatec Engineering, a water purification manufacturing company for large industries, in 1982. Eric recalls often staying with his grandparents because his parents worked day and night. In high school, Eric worked offshore for the family’s company, while his friends had free time. “I often felt that was unfair,” he says, “but today that work ethic has paid off. My parents instilled in me the value of tireless hard work and dedication to anything I do. Today, I do my best to instill that same work ethic in my staff and my own children.”
More Avery family businesses followed – The Furniture Studio, French Market Foods, Big Easy Foods, Crystal Clear Water, Avery Resort Properties, and Neighborhood Mini-Storage Company. Fran and a business partner owned and operated the retail shop Crave for several years. Eric internalized his parents’ business sense and followed suit. He worked hard, earned a BS degree from McNeese State University, a master’s from LSU, and has since owned and operated several successful companies, such as Avery Archives (which he sold in 2018), AGNG Development Group, and he greatly expanded the Neighborhood Mini-Storage locations. The pinnacle of his success sits at 1165 E. McNeese St. – Crying Eagle Brewing Company.
While the business is known for its awarding-winning beers, Crying Eagle is so much more than a brewery. With their popular Bistro, a wide variety of daily events and activities, an expansive outdoor seating area and performance stage, it’s a family and dog-friendly, community-engaging entertainment center and community gathering destination.
Opened in 2016, Crying Eagle is truly a family affair and Eric wouldn’t have it any other way. He is President and head of operations. Larry is the Chief Financial Officer. Fran is Vice President and head of retail and customer experience, and she also works in the Bistro. Eric’s wife, Jenn, helps oversee community outreach, donations, sponsorships, etc. “The great thing about Crying Eagle being a family-owned company is the collaboration and roles we bring to the business,” Eric says. “Each of us bring a unique vision and insight that is so valuable.”
Even his children serve as “brand ambassadors.” Eric adds, “While not on payroll or hired in any capacity, Jackson (17), Caroline (15), and Lauren (9) each hold great pride in the business and talk shop with their peers, teachers, or anyone who asks them about the business.”
When speaking about family and business, the Avery’s can’t help but add their employees to the discussion. “Our employees are our greatest asset hands down,” Eric says. “Our goal is and always will be to make their employment fulfilling, even make a career out of their employment here. We feel caring for our employees as family is the only way to create a generational company. Yes, everyone wants high salaries, great benefits, comp time . . . but they also want to be noticed and appreciated and I feel we do that better than anyone.” Larry adds, “I couldn’t be prouder of Eric and his dedication to our company’s employees and their families.”