Glenview Woman Makes, Sells Dog Treats From Home
With the help of some friends, Vicki Price started producing and selling high quality dog treats out of her Glenview home. Her dog helps too.
Vicki Price of Glenview is so fond of her dog Cooper that she started making her own brand of dog treats for him. Using human-quality chicken, pork and sweet potatoes, she launched a home-based business dedicated to making high quality treats for man's best friend.
"I'm not a cook, I don't like cooking, but I'll do anything for my dog," Price said. "Everything is taste tested by Cooper, and he takes his job very seriously."
Cooper has always loved jerky, but Price said she couldn't find treats for him that weren't filled with unhealthy ingredients. So she learned to make the jerky herself — cooking, dehydrating and now packaging the treats in her home.
Dog Tested, Cooper-Approved
Price knew the jerky was special after her neighbor's dog, a Shibu Inu called Bonzai, tried the treat. Bonzai loved the jerky so much he started running away from his owner's house and wandering into Price's yard.
With the help of her business partners, Ken and Michael Solan, Price started buying meat in bulk and preparing it for commercial distribution under the Cooper's Way brand name.
Price buys human grade meat for the jerky and says it comes from the same distributor as Glenview's barbecue restaurant, Johnny's Kitchen & Tap.
She does not, however, encourage people to eat Cooper's Way food.
"I can't tell you to eat it, but we've tried it," she said. "It's very flavorful."
The Biggest Sweet Potatoes
Price says her treats are made without sugar, salts or chemicals. She uses boneless, skinless chicken breast, pork tenderloin and the biggest sweet potatoes she can find.
They also found a way to reduce waste by reusing chicken fat in the cooking process.
"I want to be nation wide," Price said. "I want to play ball with the big boys, but I want to do it my way," she said.
Cooper helps the operation as well.
"He's the company image, research and development, security, quality control," said Ken Solan.
Price says they experimented with carrot treats at first, but Cooper wasn't interested in the vegetables.
Cooper's Way Of Giving Back
Cooper's Way jerky went on sale in December. Though their website is still under construction, Price is taking orders via email. Meanwhile, a web development class at Glenbrook South is designing a site for Cooper's Way — and for class credit.
Price says she delivers extra treats to nearby dog shelters, and hopes she can eventually use the brand to raise awareness about the shelters some dogs live in.
"I want people's awarness of the shelters to go up," she said. "You get phenominal dogs from the shelters."
Dogs like Cooper, who Price met after a day-long journey to various shelters around Chicago about four years ago.