Canidae was recently named among recipients of the Inland Empire Spirit of the Entrepreneur award.

The natural petfood company was started by John Gordon and Scott Whipple as a way to keep their petfood store in business after a national petfood chain store moved into the neighborhood. Today, the company's products are sold by more than 7,000 petfood retailers worldwide.

The annual awards ceremony, organized by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino in California, USA, recognized the top winners from a pool of 25 finalists and more than 140 nominees.

Mike Stull, Inland Empire Center director and founding organizer of the event, said the awards are a way to recognize inland California businesses and inspire others.

“It reinforces that we do have a good region,” Stull said. “In spite of the economic challenges, there are a lot of good things happening.”