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Small Town Hospitality
very, very small plant on Mackinac Island, Michigan, started making
canine treats in 2003 to fill local requests for fresh, high quality
chews, mostly (but not exclusively) for the Island's sporting dogs.
After a few years, demand came from the mainland, too. So, we upgraded
our little shop, got licensed to manufacture and distribute pet food,
and figured we were (as the management gurus say) "right-sized."
horse drawn dray delivers an order of Mr. B's Bones.
Horses and bikes are the primary modes of transportation on Mackinac
customers, both humans and dogs, were satisfied; we were making an
O.K. living; and animal shelters were happy with our in-kind contributions.
Then, after the tainted pet food recalls of early 2007, our tiny enterprise
found itself positioned for an unexpected growth opportunity. The
question was what to do about it.
out the Recalls
for Mr. B's Bones shot
up when area consumers started looking harder for pet foods they could
trust. Our reputation gave us a leg up, but we had to figure out how
to capitalize on this potential bonanza! Until 2007, we'd been making
our products fresh, by hand and from scratch, and with only the best
domestic ingredients. We hadn't co-packaged our treats because we wanted
tight control over the manufacturing process from start to finish. And,
we'd still been doing business the "old-fashioned way" (READ:
no credit cards, no e-commerce) in order to keep costs down and quality
up! So, we had some serious decisions to make: Scale up and cash in?
Or...? Well, it didn't take us very long to decide that the freshness
and high quality of our dog treats couldn't be compromised.
that means we're going to stay small by choice, work to maintain and
improve the efficiency of our operation and the quality our products,
and concentrate our sales in the Great Lakes region only. You'll be
seeing us and our treats at pet expos, outdoor shows, and dogsled
races. You'll find our products in selected retail venues.