A new Northampton pet food company is ready to expand after four years of growth in the raw pet food nutrition market.
Northampton Raw Dog Food, currently located in Blisworth, was founded by lifelong pet lover Zena Taylor, who owns two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
The business provides dog owners with raw, unprocessed meat for our canine companions to enjoy.
It is said to be a much better species-specific diet that is claimed to lead to better health for the animals, as well as some better breathing. But it took quite a bit of fuss before Zina finally decided to start her own business.
The local entrepreneur started her raw nutrition journey in 2017, when she was really struggling to find a decent supplier, or indeed, anyone with good nutrition advice.
She described having to ‘her suite’ as there was no one to ask for and courses on the topic were few and far between.
The show was also very choppy, as Zina described a dog shopping trip that took her to multiple places to eat raw and then for all the toppings, like wings, fish etc. Altogether, it cost her £200 a month just to feed her dogs.
So, finally, Zina set up her first two freezers in the back of her husbands’ carpet showroom and filled them with human-quality meat, which means it’s quality people can safely eat.
“I was looking for good dog food that didn’t cost the floor and I ordered my first batch to fill my freezers. Then I put a little post on Facebook on Friday, just to my friends, saying I got some raw dog food, and if anyone wants to go out, I’m selling it,” said Zina. At a much lower price than anywhere else.
“Saturday morning I walked into my husband’s showroom and there were about 20 people standing around my freezer and I said to my husband ‘I think I need to buy more freezers.'”
Now after four years of growth, the company has acquired ten times its freezer, booming from three to thirty years ago, offering many different brands of meat. On top of that, the company offers many other pet foods, toys, and paraphernalia, making it a one-stop shop for any raw pet feeding needs.
Meat is stored in airtight containers not much different from supermarket meat for humans. There is no mess, and most importantly, there is no smell either. They also offer refrigerated next day delivery across the UK for those furry friends who can’t make it to the store, with deliveries arriving in Cornwall.
This has earned the company the nickname “Iceland for Dogs”.
Zeina added, “I employ locals and provide assistance and advice to customers who are raw-fed.
“Over the years, we have built a large client base and have seen some amazing transformations in dogs.
“We have created a real community of people and it is so nice to be able to watch dogs grow up and be healthy.
“We also do fundraisers for dog charities like Animals In Needs and Nanna Dog Rescue.”
But success was a double-edged sword for domestic business. With demand now exceeding the limits of its current headquarters, Zina is looking for new buildings to expand into, as it intends to hire more local staff. The plan is to use larger places to store more meat, which is being ordered in large quantities in order to reduce costs and impact on the environment.
Given the image that raw food can conjure up for some, Zina had a hard time finding someone to sign in.
Zeina continued, “I applied loads and sheer loads of warehouses and rental property owners and I was constantly falling back. Landlords don’t want dogs in their buildings.
“Most people don’t seem to understand my work. They think I slaughter animals or something, rather than ‘Iceland for dogs.'”
“I feel so upset that I have worked so hard to build this brand and this family and have helped so many people that I just don’t want to shut down because I have nowhere to go.
“I am very frustrated and upset that I have been forced into this situation and he does not seem to understand that even though dogs enter the property, I keep the store tidy and clean.”
Zina is looking for 5,000 sq. ft., requires only parking. She has a budget of nearly £40,000 and hopes to find a willing host soon.