It’s always amazing when little hometown businesses expand and become large companies that sell their goods all over the world. Janet McCarty is well on her way to being one of the rare entrepreneurs that takes their small business to the big leagues. Her homemade dog treats were recently discovered by health food giant Whole Foods.
McCarty rescued an abandoned puppy about three years ago, and the good deed inspired her to focus on the well-being of her pup. Once she began to realize how important healthy eating was for canines, she developed her interest into a business that she named Cotton’s Café Dog Treat Barkery.
Cotton, a small white dog with a black patch around her eye, was abandoned with her litter in the woods and the pups were not found for days. She was covered in fleas and emaciated when McCarty took her home, and she only weighed one pound.
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Cotton made weekly trips to the vet, and slowly her weight went from one pound to two, then from two pounds to three. Unfortunately, Cotton’s health issues continued, and despite her healthy growth she was prone to skin breakouts and had a sensitive stomach.
McCarty had a theory that local honey could help Cotton’s allergies, much like it does for humans. So she began creating dog treats that were handmade with no preservatives and all-natural ingredients.
Cotton loved her new treats, and her overall health improved greatly. McCarty began to realize that if local honey was good for dogs, then other local ingredients would be great too.
Cotton’s Café offers all-natural, healthy dog treats that are made with locally sourced ingredients. The treats are made from scratch, and McCarty purchases her produce from Mississippi farms to put money back into the local economy. The barkery produces four treat flavors: blueberry honey, squash apple honey, peanut butter honey, and sweet potato honey.
The company started with McCarty participating in local farmers markets. After seeing the positive effects the homemade treats had on her own dog, she began donating Cotton’s Cafe treats to the local Humane Society. The response to the treats has already been overwhelming.
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McCarty says that she is selling treats all over the country and has found that many people have the desire to feed their pet better quality food and treats. The treats are sold at 35 local stores around Mississippi and Louisiana, and they can be ordered through a few online retailers as well.
The company makes about 700 bags of treats every week. Most recently, McCarty expanded her retail business to the shelves of Whole Foods stores. She’s hoping to continue increasing the retail sales of her dog treats and expand her line of products as well.