BUSINESS OWNER: Melissa Gritzmaker
BUSINESS NAME: Sit Pretty Barkery, L.L.C.
MAIN PRODUCTS/SERVICES: Dog Bakery
LOCATION: Sioux City
Short description of your business:
Sit Pretty Barkery is a licensed and registered dog bakery. We cater to dog lovers who want to spoil their furry friends with something that tastes as good as it looks. We handcraft naturally good dog treats using only dog-safe ingredients. Our treats include personalized dog biscuits, special occasion cakes, mini pupcakes, donuts, pies, and more. Treats can be purchased online or by calling us to discuss custom orders. Wholesale offerings are also available.
What motivated you to start your business? What drives you each day?
My brother and his wife, Curtis and Becky Gaskell, own Bed & Biscuit Doggie Daycare. They were in need of some special occasion treats for their holiday dog parties and birthday celebrations. Being the baker of the family, they turned to me. I have always had a passion for baking delicious treats for humans, so I thought I’d try my hand at baking for dogs. The treats were a hit right away! Everyone was asking where these custom dog treats were coming from because their dogs were going nuts for my fresh-baked goodness! After receiving many requests for custom treats, I decided to use my talent for creating droolicious treats and turn it into a business. I love being able to help people celebrate with their dogs by giving them a healthy and fetching little treat. Dogs are family and they deserve to be celebrated!
What’s unique about your business?
What makes this business unique is that we offer creative treats that you cannot buy at pet stores. We are able to personalize the treats with dog names and produce one-of-a-kind designs. It took a lot of trial and error to hone the recipes we use. We keep our ingredients simple and have no added sugar or artificial preservatives. Our treats are freshly baked, and the dogs go crazy for them!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business?
We have spent the last couple of years combing through the regulations to be a licensed pet treat manufacturer. We follow the guidelines and each of our treats have been lab-tested and then the label is approved by the state. It has taken a lot just to set the foundation to start doing business.
What has been your greatest reward?
I have had customers thank me for my talent and tell me the treats look too good to eat. I believe dogs deserve pretty treats too! Seeing dogs gobble up our treats and having their hoomans share pictures of the celebration makes all the hard work worth it.
How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?
I had the opportunity in November and December to participate in the Small Business Marketplace event put on through the Downtown Partners of Sioux City and Iowa’s West Coast Initiative. This event is designed to get new businesses into spaces downtown to help promote local shopping. I was able to host a pop-up shop in a vacant building downtown. It was a great experience to be able to have an actual store for dogs and their hoomans to visit and pick out treats. Being able to interact with my customers in person was amazing and has inspired me to take part in more events.
Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?
It is important to support and promote new and unique businesses to add to the attractiveness of the community and to keep it growing. A great way to help them is by providing cost-effective opportunities. This makes it possible for small businesses to get a foothold and stay in business. Participating in the Small Business Marketplace event really helped our business become better known.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?
Be prepared to wear all the hats in the beginning. There are a lot of decisions to make at first and you are the one in control of it all. Also, pursue a business that you are passionate about, that way all the hard work will be worth it once you start to see your business grow.
How can the community continue to help your business?
With a small startup budget, it is difficult to afford much advertising. Having people share our Facebook and Instagram page @SitPrettyBarkery, tag us in pictures, or leave us a review helps to support our business.
What are some future goals for your company?
We have recipes we are working on to offer more flavors and grain-free options. Our goal for 2021 is to do more local events. Also, we have plans to add more wholesale accounts from veterinarians, groomers, and bakeries.