Pet Food News

Dog treat manufacturer finds niche

In an economy facing troubled times, one dog food manufacturer is experiencing growth.

Andy Gelsey's  Augie Brands Inc.  manufactures and sells two kinds of Smokey DogHouse Treats-Barkscotti and bones-from his kitchen, according to a recent story in  The Detroit News .

Smokey's treats are made without preservatives and with organic, human-grade, 70% local ingredients, according to the company. They come in flavors such as Oatmeal Apple Cranberry, Peanut Butter Carob Chip and Molasses.

In the next few years, Gelsey is looking to expand the brand to include other high-end items such as leashes and T-shirts.

How is Gelsey doing so well in the strained economy? According to the  American Pet Products Association  in Greenwich, Conn., pet owners spent more than $41 billion on their pets in 2007, the majority of which was on food.

The association also found pet owners particularly are interested in premium products-that which is nutrient dense and has few preservatives.

Gelsey also said part of his strategy is placing the treats at specialty grocers and in the gift market for maximum salability.

Among other retailers, Hiller's Market  sells the treats at its stores in  Michigan . The treats also are available online through  Augie Brands .

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