“If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you give it to your dog?”
That’s the philosophy behind fetch! Gourmet Dog Treats, a WNY company specializing in all-natural dog biscuits and treats made with human-grade ingredients.
The company, which started out of founder and president Jackie Lovern’s Cheektowaga kitchen, just inked a regional distribution deal to get its products into stores in Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and Maryland.
“I started fetch! when I adopted Sargent Pepperoni,” Lovern said.
‘When I brought him to the vet for the first time to get his shots, I talked to the doctor about what she suggested for food and treats, and she suggested I make my own so that I knew what was in the products,” Lovern said.
Lovern researched recipes online and tweaked them, to Sargent’s approval. She then started bringing them to work, where they also received approval from her coworkers’ dogs.
“I started thinking, ‘I could probably go to a farmer’s market and sell these bones for $1 a piece’.” Lovern said.
Lovern met her business and personal partner John Griveas on a blind date in July 2014.
“I knew a little about the industry, I knew it was booming,” Griveas, co-owner and vice president of Fetch, said. “I really liked what she had to tell me about the product she was making- I was able to convince her to take her weekend hobby and turn it into a business.”
Fetch expanded from Lovern’s kitchen to the kitchen at a local church. Now, the pair make the treats out of the former Ms. Field’s location in the Eastern Hills Mall.
The treats are distributed to over 40 retailers locally, and the new distribution deal with LADS Pet Supplies will provide access to over 500 new partners along the East Coast.
“[LADS] is small enough so they still allow us to grow slow and smart, which has been our model the whole time,” Griveas said. “Treats are moving- it’s exciting.”
Customers can also pick treats up from the Eastern Hills location.
“We’ve been here about two and a half years,” Lovern said. “It’s absolutely perfect- it’s our home away from home.”
The Eastern Hills location attracts some curiosity from passersby, Griveas said.
“You still get a surprise, like ‘dog treats?’,” Griveas said. “But for anyone who loves their dog and treats their dog like a family member, they love it.”
Fetch treats are made with all-natural ingredients, like pumpkin, salmon oil, and peanut butter, which is made fresh at the bakery. They don’t contain fillers, byproducts, or chemicals.
“People are starting to treat their animals like their children,” Lovern said. “A lot of people have knowledge about good, wholesome, healthy natural ingredients- they’re already educated about how good it is for their bodies and they want to feed their dogs the same.”