Mid America Pet Food prides itself on its affordable premium pet food. But the real value in its products, according to CEO Scott Glover, is in the high-quality nutritional ingredients Mid America uses in all its formulas. “Dog foods selling for US$10 per bag more than Victor (Mid America’s superpremium brand) do not provide the same value, while the discount brands selling for US$10 less can’t match our level of nutrition,” says Glover.
It’s a formula that seems to be working — Mid America has experienced 25 to 35 percent year-over-year sales growth for each of the last five years, and in the third quarter of 2016 sales were up 34 percent over the same quarter in 2015. That growth has allowed for significant expansion. “In the last year, we have developed a national distribution footprint,” says Glover. “Now, any pet food retailer in the US can buy Victor from a distributor to offer in their stores. Additionally, our capacity has increased five times in the past two-and-a-half years, which has helped facilitate our continued growth.”
Mid America Pet Food: a history
Mid America’s roots are humble, beginning 10 years ago with a single vision and a lot of hard work. “I wanted to get into the dog food business from the time I was in college,” says Glover. “I really thought when we started Mid America Pet Food that we’d be a regional plant. I thought we could make a difference in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma — kind of make that a home base for us. I never dreamed that we’d become a national brand. So I didn’t have that big vision in the beginning. As an entrepreneur I think you just want to make payroll and start growing.”
Glover says he couldn’t afford to hire a contractor, so he built a fabrication shop out on his father’s farm. “In that shop we built our bins, our elevator loads, our scales,” he says. “I bought some used equipment. I bought an 80-ton crane, and I ran it myself. I set every stick of steel in our new plant. It took me two-and-a-half years to build it. We poured every single bit of concrete ourselves, hiring very few contractors. We built a plant from scratch."
“When I got it all built, I had a plant sitting there and no sales,” says Glover. “Not a single customer. Bankers hated me. I was turned down by nine different banks for a loan.” Glover got assistance from his parents, who were in the feed business themselves for years before selling their company. Antoine Albin, who would become the president of Mid America, joined the venture, and the two set out to gain customers on their own. “We got in the car and drove a thousand miles one week, and we called on feed mills, trying to sell dog food,” says Glover. “Two customers came on with us; each bought a trailer load of dog food. They were my first and second customers, 10 years ago, and they’re still my customers today. That’s how we started our business.”
Today, the company employs nearly 90 people, including 10 territory managers scattered across the US. Mid America’s production facility, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, USA, has a 100,000-metric-ton capacity, and the company is currently in the planning stages of building a production facility capable of 200,000 metric tons annually to facilitate growth.
Mid America Pet Food's production facility, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, USA, has a 100,000-metric-ton capacity, and the company is currently in the planning stages of building a production facility capable of 200,000 metric tons annually to facilitate growth. | Mid America Pet Food
The Victor brand and the future of Mid America Pet Food
Mid America concentrates its efforts on three segments — a standard line, a select line and a grain-free line — behind a single unified brand, Victor. The company also focuses exclusively on the independent market. “Most everybody buys from mass — Petco, PetSmart, grocery, Walmart,” says Glover. “We don’t sell in those markets, and we don’t have any intention of ever selling in those markets. We stick to that small independent market, and there’s just not that many players in that market that don’t cross over. There’s really not that many of us out there that cater to that independent market — and it’s a growing, viable market. That’s the kind of niche that we have found.”
The Victor brand will play a significant role in the company’s continued growth, according to Glover. “In the next couple of years, we’ll refine our distribution of Victor, just continuing to grow,” he says. “The stores we have right now — we could double our sales without ever picking up another customer. It’s about building that relationship with that independent retailer. Retailers are going to sell foods that, one, they make money on, but two, that they personally like. When a customer goes to that retailer and says, hey, I have a new puppy, what food do you recommend, that retailer has 20 different brands to choose from. We want them to choose Victor.”
In addition, Mid America has two brands launching in late 2017 that will expand the company’s menu of available options to retailers and customers. “The first one is Privileged Pet,” says Glover. “It’s going to be unique, not like any other dog food on the market. It’ll be a unique process by which to feed, and give our retailers something really different in their stores.” The second brand is DVM Diet, which is already available in a few select, small markets. “It’ll be a higher end brand, hitting the top end of feed and farm and pet specialty retailers, but we’re also going to hit the veterinary market,” says Glover.
Overall, says Glover, the future looks bright for Mid America Pet Food’s presence in the specialty pet food market. “One thing that is a guaranteed is that the pet food industry will change,” he says. “Fads come and go every few years, but we believe customers are becoming more knowledgeable about nutrition and what they feed their pets — which is a very good thing for Victor.”
Just the Facts
Headquarters: Mt. Pleasant, Texas, USA
Officers: Scott Glover, CEO; Antoine Albin, president; Ken Colbey, CFO; Paul Majors, vice president of operations; Tom Butler, sales manager
Sales: The company has increased sales by 25 to 30 percent year-over-year for the past five years.
Distribution: Independent retailer/online
Website/Social Media: www.victorpetfood.com; victordogfood on Facebook; victorpetfood on Instagram
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