To get her company off the ground, Cheryl Foley was rolling and cutting the dough herself to make dog treats for distribution.
She had one part-time employee who helped her, but since that time four and a half years ago, her business, the Foley Dog Treat Company, has grown and now has seven full-time employees and one part-time employee, besides Foley who works as the manager/owner.
“It’s been a hard slog, but it’s possible – you just have to be really creative in the way you do things,” said Foley. “It can be done. We can have small businesses that manufacture products on the Island.”
The company moved to its new location on 1945 Bollinger Rd. about a month ago. The new location is helping Foley expand her business. She ships products across Canada and now into the U.S.
“I want to take it big. I want to make it the biggest dog treat company in the country,” said Foley.
She said there are about four to five independent dog treat manufacturers in Canada.
To create the recipes, Foley said she just started with basic baking principles, but altered the ingredients to be healthier for dogs. She substitutes items like pumpkin and peanut butter instead of eggs to act as a binder. Her company also uses pea flour instead of grain flour because many dogs have allergies to grains, added Foley, which can lead to itchy skin or watery eyes.
“Grain-free is very much a trend in the dog food industry,” said Foley. “A lot of people are very interested in providing treats for dogs that are healthy and good for dogs.”
As well as producing the product locally Foley tries to source her ingredients locally, too. She said 98 per cent of her ingredients are sourced within Canada.
The Foley Dog Treat Company creates three brands of products: Dog’n It, Bully Bites and Vitality Dog. The first grocery store that took a chance on Foley was Quality Foods. Locally, people can purchase the Vitality Dog treats from London Drugs and Fairway Market.
The Dog’n It product can be purchased from Olivers Pet Supplies, Shar-Kare, Bark and Fitz and Dog n’ Suds.
Foley Dog Treat Company is part of the Country Grocer Localize Program. The products are identified with a red label.
For more information please go to www.foleydogtreat.com.