By Maureen Werther
The Lazy Dog Cookie Co. is about to expand their growing business into Canada.
Co-owner Amy Augustine began baking blissful bites for dogs of all shapes and sizes in 2001 from her and husband Keith’s home in northeastern Pennsylvania. The couple are lifelong dog lovers and Amy wanted to create treats that would be both delicious and healthy, right from her kitchen.
She began bringing treats in for her co-workers’ pets and, according to her husband, the business just naturally began to grow.
Keith Augustine was working in corporate sales for the Heinz Ketchup company at the time, a position that involved being transferred around the country. Two years after being transferred to Saratoga County, he was ready to quit his full-time corporate job to help Amy run the business.
The couple lives in Greenfield Center with their four dogs, but the base of operations for has been in the village of Ballston Spa, first on Ford Street and just recently moving into a larger space on Ralph Street.
“We’ve been growing by double digits every year and we have a lot of really good ‘blue chip’ customers, both locally and nationally,” said Keith Augustine. Local stores include Benson’s, Price Chopper, Fresh Market, Healthy Living and Four Seasons.
On a national level, they are available through Amazon, Pet Smart, Chewy.com, Bark Box, and several more online and retail chains.
After five years of solid growth, the husband-and-wife team applied for the Northeast Food Export Program and were accepted. Augustine said the program helps with funding and some of the more intricate details involved in exporting goods out of the country. It also provides financial support for some aspects of shipping.
“Because of that, we now have a broker who represents us in both the U.S. and Canada, and we’ve put together a whole French Canadian line of treats for that market,” he said.
Their signature Canadian product “T-Bone and Elmo’s,” was part of a power point presentation they sent to potential customers, and they ended up getting a face-to-face meeting with the category manager for Loblaws Inc., the largest food distributor in Canada.
“We met with him in April and he loved our line, the packaging and all we had to offer. In June, he gave us formal notification to bring our line of treats into their stores on a national level. They took all six items that we presented,” said Augustine.
He said that the Canadian line will ship out this month products to 400 stores in Canada. They have a two-year exclusive agreement with Loblaw’s.
Augustine said that the NE Food Export Program will be featuring The Lazy Dog Cookie Co.’s success story in their annual publication.
The Lazy Dog Cookie Co. products are made of natural ingredients and are wheat and corn-free, with soy and grain-free offerings as well. They do not use fillers, preservatives or anything artificial in their process. They are also vegetarian and vegan.
Their lines include bite-sized cookies, treats on a stick and even “pup-pies” to help owners celebrate their pets’ birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Shoppers can even buy the Ultimate Party Pack, which includes a pup-pie, birthday hat, a sock-monkey toy and package of candles, in both pink and blue.
With the addition of Loblaw’s as a customer, Augustine said that they expect to hire more workers and eventually expand to meet the growing demand. They also employ seven people from Saratoga Bridges once or twice each week to come in and help with packaging.