Composting is the process of combining unusable organic materials (like eggshells, orange rinds, bits of left-over salad etc.) and letting Mother Nature do her thing. Soon, this organic material begins to be consumed by micro-organisms, decomposing and turning into nutrient rich plant food that creates naturally healthy soil, speeds up plant growth, and is ideal for agricultural use. With a long history of dairy farming in Nevada, the process of composting organic waste became essential to sustainably feed such a large population of dairy cows. Born out of that history, Full Circle Compost began as a complementary business to Milky Way Dairy Farm in Minden, NV, in the early 1990’s.
By 1997, Milky Way Dairy’s composted products had begun to make their way into surrounding communities, creating a buzz about the magic of compost, and allowing Full Circle to become a self-sustaining entity. For the next two decades, Full Circle Compost quietly grew into one of the largest composting companies in Nevada, shipping thousands of yards of soils, compost, and mulch annually to over 20 locations across Northern Nevada, and recycling over 50,000,000 lbs of organic materials.
By understanding the biology, listening to what plants want, and pouring endless care into their products, the Full Circle Compost team is on a green mission to replenish the Earth with healthy, satisfying soil.
But the Silver State has been slow to adopt the composting industry, with the vast majority of Nevadans instead preferring to simply throw out their waste. “Full Circle’s main difficulties in Nevada’s composting industry relate to the lack of a “recycling mindset” in our state,” says Cody Witt, Owner of Full Circle Compost. “Nevada doesn’t have any recycling mandates for organic or non-organic materials, just recommendations. Without the need to keep materials out of the landfill, a lack of infrastructure for recycling programs, and [low] landfill prices, it’s cheaper for the community to landfill over compost.”
As attitudes about recycling (and at-home gardening) began to change, the demand for properly made compost has risen. Being located in a desert climate, Nevada has the perfect environment for the use of compost, as dry, arid soils benefit most from the water-retaining organic matter. “Compost is not a heavily used product in Nevada, and creating a market for compost has been a challenge,” says Witt, “Trying to make compost “cool” and for people to see the benefits takes time. However, it is finally coming “full circle” in Nevada,” – we see what you did there, Cody.
Turning a dairy farm “side business” into the leading composting and organics materials recycling operation in Northern Nevada is no small feat, and tackling a problem that hasn’t been solved before is doubly scary. “Making the first step is the hardest part; however, doing your due diligence and testing your idea for viability before moving forward is the key to success,” said Witt.
However, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to do it all on their own. Community organizations like Made in Nevada bring together like-minded people with a passion for doing good business and helping their Nevada neighbor. “Creating a family of organizations that will help drive positive vibes and feedback to new and existing customers continues the growth of all businesses involved. Having organizations like Made in Nevada is a huge asset for any business,” said Witt.
Full Circle Compost has big plans for the next five years, including expanding their distribution channels to include more vendors in Nevada and Northern California, and increasing organic materials waste diversion in the Reno/Sparks area. With a great product and a smart team dedicated to preserving our state and planet, Full Circle Compost will undoubtedly reach its goals.
You can help Full Circle Compost, while benefiting your own lawn, garden. Now available at 20+ locations across Northern Nevada, bring your lawn and garden to life with Full Circle Compost! Order today at https://fullcirclecompost.com/find-us/
Gottier’s grandfather returned to Reno from his deployment in the Marine Corp.
after WWII to build a family and a livelihood. He grew his family and influence
in the community, helping to construct many well-loved buildings throughout
Northern Nevada. Now, 70-odd years later, his granddaughter, Morgan, is
elevating the same Silver State spirit that has served her family so well.
director, to stay-at-home mom, to entrepreneur, Gottier has been driven by the
Battle Born work ethic imparted by her ancestors. This Nevadan identity inspired
a dream to build a clothing brand that echoed those same hardworking values. “My grandfather was a very big part of my life
growing up and he taught me what it means to be proud of the place you call
home, the community you are involved in, the state that has provided so much
for your family. I wanted to share that with other Nevadans,” said Gottier. “That history inspires me and
the designs that we create.”
her children came of age, Gottier had time to invest in her dream and founded
‘State 36 Clothing Co.’ in 2016. The name, a reference to Nevada’s inception
into the United States, reflects the history and mystique of her native Nevadan
family. For the next three years, Gottier began building her clothing brand
from scratch. “I juggled trying to learn the clothing
industry, build relationships and create a name in my community for my
business. Through the help of family and friends, working long hours, and
selling at pop-ups, we have grown to the place where we could open our first
But it hasn’t
all been easy. Gottier’s husband created a web-development services company in
2008, but the difference between managing a service-based business and
product-based business like ‘State 36 Clothing Co.’ presented new challenges.
While her husband’s web-based services offered immediate solutions, there was a
steep learning-curve behind understanding the supply chains and timeframes
necessary to sustain a clothing company. To overcome this, Morgan reverted back
to her family’s hardworking mentality. “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned
is that I am in charge of my destiny as a business owner,” she says, “What I
put into the business equals the outcome.”
work, and adaptability allowed her to open up her first brick-and-mortar location
in Reno’s beautiful southwest neighborhood. “Our store front has given us the opportunity for our
customers to see in person the quality products we are offering and unique
designs for the whole family.” Made in Nevada’s Winter 2020 BizBash networking
party was held at the new Arlington Gardens store, (Made in Nevada member Tahoe
Timber can be found in the same shopping center), and the creative designs and
detailed craftsmanship of State 36 Clothing Co. received a lot of attention
from those in attendance. “Made in Nevada has helped connect us with resources,
other entrepreneurs and has helped to introduce us to new customers,” said
Gottier of the statewide marketing cooperative.
desire to incorporate as much local identity as possible in her brand coincides
with the Made in Nevada mission to bring together like-minded entrepreneurs
throughout the Silver State. Using local materials, suppliers, and
distributors, Gottier exemplifies the ideals of the local manufacturer. “Our main priority of ‘State 36’ is to keep
everything as local as possible. With the continued growth in the Silver State,
we are excited to be able to source more and more products from Nevada in the
future,” she said. The drive to sustain her dreams, family, and community has
the ‘State 36 Clothing Co.’ brand on an upward trajectory, and increased
attention from partners across the state.
To combat the current
economic climate, ‘State 36 Clothing Co.’ is offering free shipping on all
orders while their storefront is closed. ‘State 36’ is also offering discounted
gift packages (complete with customizable greeting card) to keep up the spirits
of your loved ones during these times. For more information on this Made in
Nevada business, visit their website at https://www.state36.com/.
Like much of the United States, Nevada has a rich history of immigrant families bringing their passion for food and flavor to regions unknown. This is the story of the Flocchini family, whose old-world recipes and handmade sausage techniques have been passed down over three generations and, after partnering with the Tonino family in 2015, have become a household favorite.
Made at their Carson Valley facility using only whole meat
muscle and simple spices free of artificial ingredients, Flocchini Family Provisions
offers one of the only clean lines of handcrafted sausage – ensuring every bite
is pure taste with no filler. But a great product alone won’t lead to success,
and Flocchini has had its fair share of adversity. “Our path has been bumpy,
zig-zag, up and down… but [we’re] always moving forward with optimism, hard
work, dedication and passion,” says Chris Flocchini, President and CEO. Low
barriers to entry and finding top-tier talent to accomplish both short-term and
long-term objectives of the company have been obstacles to overcome.
“Convincing some amazing people to come aboard our ship… and help make our
purpose come true is definitely our biggest success.”
Over four years, Flocchini Family Provisions has more than
doubled its number of employees, and nearly tripled its revenue. But this
didn’t happen by accident. Chris Flocchini points to the ability to be flexible
as crucial in achieving your overall business strategy. “Have a really good
plan A and plan B,” says Flocchini, “Be flexible on the things that you can be
flexible on but don’t compromise your values.” But a business like this doesn’t
reach success by flexibility and chance alone – a healthy dose of pragmatism can
go a long way. Before you begin to start your entrepreneurial journey, Flocchini
advises that you “make sure you are really clear about the problem you’re
solving with your product or service. Just because you think it’s a great idea
doesn’t mean that it is. Be prepared for that reality.”
Being a family business, Flocchini Family Provisions is all
about helping others, and being a part of Made in Nevada allows them to share
the wealth of knowledge and experience gained over 25 years of impassioned
service. It’s this dedication and passion for helping others succeed that sets
Flocchini apart. As an entrepreneur, Flocchini recommends that you “surround
yourself with amazing people and put them into a position to thrive. Don’t
micro-manage, but know every single detail of your business.” He’s also a
proponent of maintaining your personal health as well, saying entrepreneurs
shouldn’t be afraid to take a little time to reflect on what they’re grateful
for, eat well, and get consistent sleep.
With such solid leadership and a highly motivated team, it’s
no wonder Flocchini Family Provisions has flourished in the business friendly
state of Nevada. And in the next five years, they only plan to expand on their
successes. “[In five years] We want to triple the revenue again, and have a new
facility to accommodate the growth,” says Chris Flocchini, “I would like to see
us in at least five major retailers and 10 sizeable restaurant chains.” If
their past is any indication, Flocchini Family Provisions’ future is as bright
and tasty as ever.
You don’t have to wait to get your hands on some Flocchini
sausage! Visit their outlet store in Carson City for weekly deals, or order
today at https://flocchinisausage.com/.
In the bustling town of Gardnerville, Nevada, lies an
award-winning candy shop that takes sweet treats to a whole other level. The
Chocolate Shoppe story is one of struggle, determination, and evolution – a
beacon to Nevada entrepreneurs that strive to carve out their own piece of the
Lynn Falcone has always had a passion for sweets, and dreamt
of one day owning her own chocolate shop. While working in New York City in the
1970’s, she was able to apprentice at several high-level bakeries and
confectionaries to learn the tricks of the chocolate trade, and continued to
hone her craft until 1994. That’s when fate intervened. Falcone was working
with a company that, for the first time ever, was able to reproduce
photo-realistic images and graphics directly onto cakes. Though the technology
was at its beginning stages, Falcone instantly saw an opportunity to break into
a new market. She decided to start her own company called ‘Sweet Images’, and
moved the photo-reproduction business to include cookies, chocolates, Rice
Krispie Treats and more, eventually moving her business online – a bold move in
those days. After struggling for a few years, Sweet Images was able to attract
several large photo-gift websites, including Kodak, to sell their products.
Business boomed for quite a while, until technology shifted again.
The advent of cell-phones brought with it a sea change in
the film industry. As digital copies became the norm, consumers no longer
needed to get their photos printed, and Sweet Images biggest customers went the
way of the dinosaur. Falcone refused to sell a lower-quality product, and
decided to open the chocolate shop she had always dreamed of. “I had been
testing and perfecting recipes for decades! It was either open the store or get
a “real” job – so we did this,” said Falcone. The Chocolate Shoppe opened in
2012, and has grown into a Gardnerville staple, winning the Carson Valley
Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and Carson Valley Business Council
Retail Store of the Year in that time.
“If I could give one piece of advice to a young
entrepreneur, it would be to know your customer!” Falcone says, “Your customers
will help you determine the path of your business. Listen to them – they will
tell you what they want!” The Chocolate Shoppe has thrived on this advice,
pivoting to new products when tastes and technology change. The ability to
adapt has sustained business through lean times brought on by geography and employee
shortages, and joining local organizations like the Carson Valley Chamber of
Commerce and Made in Nevada have assisted in creating brand awareness. Being a
Made in Nevada brand is a point of pride for Falcone and her employees. “We are
very Nevada-centric here – we love our state!”, said Falcone, “Made in Nevada
is always out there trying to recommend us to potential customers. Plus, having
all the “Made in Nevada” signs make our customers VERY happy to see them!”
The future looks bright for The Chocolate Shoppe, but after
almost 30 years of success, Lynn Falcone is ready to see it behind her. “I would
love to be retired and either sell the business, or set up the employees to
manage and run it,” Falcone says. Whether Falcone is there or not, the Chocolate
Shoppe by Sweet Images will continue to make unique, high-quality treats for
By the time Aloha Medicinals arrived at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2007, they had already been cornering the medicinal mushroom market for close to a decade. Originally founded in Maui, Hawaii, in 1999 by a group of scientists and health care experts interested in growing Reishi, Cordyceps, and other medicinally important mushroom species, Aloha Medicinals sole focus lied in producing a high-quality product. They were rewarded with high demand, and within three years Aloha moved into a new facility in Santa Cruz, California.
This would turn out to be quite a fortuitous pit-stop for the young company, as the new Santa Cruz facility was once the research laboratory of mushroom pioneer Dr. Benjamin Stoller. When Aloha Medicinals moved in, not only did they gain a fully qualified staff and manufacturing equipment, but they also acquired Dr. Stoller’s original research notes. This extensive research material provided a roadmap to breakthrough patents, and a few years later Aloha Medicinals found themselves seated atop the medicinal mushroom industry. With newly increased demand, and Dr. Stoller’s notes in hand, Aloha once again picked up and relocated – this time to Carson City.
Sitting at an elevation of 5,000 ft., the air pressure and climate of Carson City proved to be ideal for cultivating the world’s most potent medicinal mushroom species. In fact, Aloha Medicinals have the world’s largest privately owned collection of medicinal mushroom species, with more than 1,000 unique specimens in their culture bank. This huge amount of product allows Aloha to supply ingredients to over 700 different companies in more than 60 countries, leading to their recognition as the “2008 Exporter of the Year” by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Not only did Carson City present a perfect climate for the production of medicinal mushrooms, it also enabled Aloha Medicinals to hire the quality employees they needed. While they had retained a highly-trained staff of Mycologists, Microbiologists and Health Care Professionals, “the workforce was a large issue in California and we found the quality of employees to be excellent in the Reno/Carson City market,” said Aloha Medicinals’ eCommerce Manager Derek Rush. The move to Nevada has been great for the company in general, as continued growth has led to increased recognition in the health foods industry. “We continue to see the use of our mushroom powders in functional food and meal replacement shake category,” said Rush of the most exciting development in Aloha’s business.
Aloha Medicinals has been taking over the world, and they have no plans to slow down anytime soon. Within five years, they plan to “expand our business and bring more of our botanical product production to the Nevada location,” said Rush. With a proven product, a world-class team, and a Silver State to call “home”, Derek Rush says success really comes down to just one thing: “Have passion for your business and the results will follow.”
Get free shipping on orders over $25* on https://alohamedicinals.com/. And for a limited time, they’ll throw in a bottle of Performax Forte with ANY purchase!
Joe Dutra’s transition from third-generation Sacramento farmer to international candy tycoon might seem like a long-shot at first glance, but once you get to know him, it seems like a logical course of events. “It started out as a single business deal buying some candy that was stuck in an Oakland port,” Dutra says of his humble beginnings, “I purchased 40,000lbs… and a friend of mine was going to sell them for me.” But when that friend couldn’t hold up his end of the deal, Dutra began reading every book about the candy industry that he could find, and decided to start his own company. “I learned that the candy industry was recession proof, grew every year, had good morals, and there were lots of family-run businesses. I thought it was a great legacy to leave my children.”
That first purchase of 40,000lbs of candy coated, chocolate-covered sunflower kernels was the inspiration for Kimmie Candy’s now famous Sunburst Candy, and in just three short years, they had won the prestigious “Product of the Year” award at the annual Candy Grammys for their equally famous ChocoRocks. With the goal of creating more American jobs, Dutra relocated the business to Reno in 2005, and within a few years their state-of-the-art production facility was fully operational. International expansion didn’t take long after that, with distribution to Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, South America, and the Middle East.
While Kimmie Candy’s rise to the top might seem like a magical straight-shot, Dutra is quick to talk about challenges the company has faced. “Over the years we made lots of mistakes, like hiring the wrong people for our culture or developing product lines that were difficult to market,” he says of Kimmie Candy’s past struggles. “As an entrepreneur, you have lots of amazing ideas, and you fantasize about all the potential and glory in starting a business. But after a while, it just gets down to good business practices.” Those good business practices have led to continual growth, with Kimmie Candy quadrupling its number of employees over the last 10 years.
After moving operations to Nevada almost 15 years ago, Kimmie Candy joined statewide marketing cooperative Made in Nevada to be “a part of the Nevada community and its growing economy”, and, in that regard, they continue to be a leader. In 2016, Kimmie Candy was selected to represent Nevada at the first ever ‘Made in America Day’ at the White House, something that Dutra views as their biggest success. “Being able to meet the President of the United States, have him eat Nevada made candy and be able to spend the whole day in the White House was amazing,“ said Dutra, “Everything we had done before that led up to us being chosen to represent our state.”
Kimmie Candy has no plans to roll back their candy takeover. They’re currently developing a new “M&M type product” which will be infused with supplements and nutritional enhancements, as well as CBD – “as it becomes legal to use in food.” In five years, Dutra hopes to have a new, state-of-the-art, 100,000 square-foot manufacturing plant right here in the Silver State to expand Kimmie’s national sales. Whatever the future holds for Kimmie Candy, it’s guaranteed to be sweet.
Before the major coffee companies began popping up on every corner, there were young, adventurous travelers scouring the globe for the newest flavor, a more unique aroma, and the next great coffee bean. One of those young adventurers was Christian Waskiewicz, who began a year-long, trans-European excursion while finishing his college degree in the late 1980s. While trekking through the Austrian Alps, Waskiewicz had a complete vision of his future company and spent the next year visiting coffeehouses throughout Vienna, Hamburg, Stockholm and Paris, learning the intricacies and techniques of the world’s best coffee producers.
Upon returning to the U.S., Waskiewicz founded Alpen Sierra Coffee in South Lake Tahoe in 1991. But after struggling with an influx of corporate competition and a sagging economy, he decided to relocate to Minden, NV. “Having the flexibility to constantly adapt to changes means making tough decisions when the current direction is not working. [That’s the] key to not only surviving, but thriving,” said Waskiewicz. Paying attention to market factors and business trends has allowed Waskiewicz to build a business that has thrived for nearly 30 years.
Pairing business management adaptability with a commitment to quality – in products and processes – has solidified Alpen Sierra’s reputation as a trusted partner for customers and producers. For Waskiewicz, this commitment to quality is not just about pouring a good cup of coffee, it’s about producing a quality end product while also maintaining sustainable and responsible business practices. Since inception, Alpen Sierra has been an early adopter of green technologies and pursued a sustainability certifications from programs including Fair Trade, The Rainforest Alliance, and the Café Femenino Program. Delivering delicious coffee through responsible business practices is what Waskiewicz calls “true quality” and something he works every day to maintain and advance. “Alpen Sierra practices wholehearted sustainability in all facets of its business,” Waskiewicz said, “[Our] reputation for unwavering quality, not only with local customers, but globally with coffee producers, has contributed to the company’s 28 successful years in business.”
Alpen Sierra’s rise has been deliberate and calculated, but hasn’t been obstacle free. The move from South Lake Tahoe to Minden didn’t solve every problem, as seasonal business fluctuation, staffing challenges, and large corporate competitors keep the Alpen Sierra team continually working smarter and harder. Joining statewide marketing cooperative Made in Nevada is one way they’ve expanded their brand awareness and connected with a broad range of Nevada businesses in similar situations. With a goal to expand market penetration deeper into the state and surrounding region, they recognize Made in Nevada has “helped open up markets and new clients, identified Alpen Sierra as a local producer, and added value to the brand.”
From college-backpacker to “Coffee Master”, Christian Waskiewicz is proof that hard work and consistency can lead to great things. His one piece of advice for young entrepreneurs: “maintain high standards – always. That means plan smart, work hard and be fair, honest, respectful, and conduct yourself with the utmost integrity.”
Hunt for your new favorite bean with an Alpen Sierra “Taste of Tahoe” subscription. Or take your coffee anywhere with their new “Pour and Explore” product line – all you need is your favorite cup and some hot water! Find out more at www.alpensierracoffee.com.
50 years ago this month, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon. Their 2 hour and 36 minute moonwalk was made possible due to thousands of hours of preparation and training by multiple teams of people – and upheld President Kennedy’s 1961 pledge to land a man on the Moon before the decade was out.
One of the men who contributed to this incredible achievement was Paul Fisher, founder of Fisher Pen Company. When he started the company in 1948, he didn’t know he would be part of one of the most memorable moments of the 20th century or that he would transform ink pen manufacturing forever. But after the Apollo 1 tragedy, Fisher realized that future astronauts would need a safe and functional writing instrument in the harsh environment of space. He began experimenting right away, and soon the Fisher Space Pen was born.
Used on all manned space flights (US and Russian) since Apollo 7, Fisher Space Pen has become legendary for its reliability, durability, and functionality. It was the first product sold from space (on QVC), featured on the Discovery Channel’s ‘How It’s Made’ series, and even made an appearance on a famous episode of ‘Seinfeld’. And despite its fame around the world (and beyond), the Fisher Space Pen is most lauded in its hometown of Boulder City, NV.
Nevada has always been a business-friendly state, and when Fisher Space Pen moved from Van Nuys, CA, to Boulder City in 1976, it only took four years for Paul Fisher to be recognized as Nevada’s “Small Business Person of the Year”. Their Silver State ties run deep, and Matt Fisher, VP of Sales and Paul Fisher’s grandson, is most proud of this fact: “To continue my grandfather’s legacy in my home state [of Nevada] is truly an honor.”
With approximately 65 employees, the feeling of a small business keeps Fisher Space Pen reaching for the stars – or more realistically – for Mars. “We’re still a few more years from reaching [Mars] so I’d like to see our Astronauts, once again, take us to the Moon,” said Fisher. Fisher Space Pen will be representing Nevada at the White House Made in America Showcase on July 15th.
Fisher Space Pen has been a long-time member and supporter of Made in Nevada, and credits the statewide marketing-cooperative with introducing new dealers to the Fisher brand. Taking advantage of every opportunity is how Fisher Space Pen has grown into the massive brand it is today. When asked what advice Matt Fisher has for upcoming Nevada entrepreneurs, he says simply “work hard, continue educating yourself, and never take any opportunity for granted.”
Visit www.spacepen.com to get your hands on their Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Pen. Not only is each pen is designed to handle the rigors of space flight, but each contains a REAL piece of the Apollo 11 spacecraft!
With 300 sunny days a year, Las Vegas knows a thing or two about getting out of the heat. That’s where Steve Mevius, founder of Polar Shades and Las Vegas native, found himself in 1994 when he began building and installing solar-protective window screens for his friends and family in the area. Through hard work and determination over 25 years, what started as a hobby for Mevius has turned into a nationwide phenomenon.
Every entrepreneur begins with an idea and a little free time, and Mevius took full advantage of both. Working 40 or more hours a week as a Customer Service Manager in the early years, by the year 2000 he and his father had leased their first warehouse, and Polar Shades, Inc. was born. “We both didn’t take a paycheck until 2004, choosing to reinvest every single penny we could on material, equipment, and employees,” says Mevius, “The most valuable entrepreneurial lesson for me was to create relationships with our customer through honesty, integrity, and never lowering our values for a project.” This dedication to craft and customer helped Polar Shades stand out from the crowd, and soon they had contracts in New York, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, California, and other states around the nation, and now manufacture over 85,000 shades every year in their new, 50,000 sq. foot state-of-the-art facility in Las Vegas, NV.
However, Polar Shades’ rise hasn’t been obstacle free. They’ve often been overlooked by the huge hospitality industry in their own city. “The only casino owner that gave us a chance was Mr. Sheldon Adelson, in which we supplied our products for the Venetian and Palazzo, ahead of schedule,” says Mevius, “We consistently exceed the standards of our industry yet struggle with the Las Vegas hospitality business.” However, the Las Vegan is proud of the fact his product is made in Nevada, and believes more should be done to promote local business. “It starts with [the government] promoting Nevada businesses to Nevada businesses. [We] can’t stand to see similar products to our coming in from Mexico to the Las Vegas Strip properties. It instills pride in our Polar Shades team to see our shades in various resorts, golf courses, actors and actresses houses, and knowing that we are made in Vegas.”
Polar Shades has grown from one man with an idea into a flourishing business making a real splash in the industry, and this is what continues to drive Mevius. “Taking a backyard hobby into a multi-million dollar business with 60+ employees through determination and drive is definitely our biggest success.” And they have no plans to stop any time soon. In five years, Mevius hopes to “double our size and revenue and have our product in every single hotel in Nevada.” And while that may seem like a lofty goal, just look at how far they’ve come already. As a finally piece of advice to young entrepreneurs everywhere, Mevius said simply, “Believe in your dreams, and through hard work, honesty, and integrity, the ‘American Dream’ can be your reality.”
Anyone who has ever owned a pet understands the frustration of trying to find a healthy dog treat that your fur-baby will love. Throw allergy considerations and dietary restrictions on top of that, and it can seem next to impossible to give your pup a treat that checks all your boxes. That was the dilemma Joel White found himself in with his dog, Melba, who continued to have severe allergic reactions to ingredients common to most dog foods and treats. Joel decided to take matters into his own hands and (after consulting with a vet) began to develop his own dog treats, gaining rave reviews from his friends who encouraged him to begin producing treats for them – and Melba and Hazel was born.
The path of an entrepreneur is never clear or certain, but taken one step at a time a small idea can grow into massive success. After Melba & Hazel developed their four mainstay products (100% Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast; 100% Tri-Tip Pork Sirloin; 100% Lean Ground Turkey; 100% Skinless, Freshwater Tilapia) they began testing their products at local farmers’ markets and community events. “Once we’re able to have a dog taste our treats, we are confident in building a solid customer base,” says Joel.
But sustained growth still seemed to elude the burgeoning company. Based in Incline Village, NV, Melba & Hazel had difficulty drawing foot traffic to a physical location and had to work hard to establish a brand and marketing techniques that would draw in business. With a little elbow-grease, Melba & Hazel has developed “a uniformly positively reputation for having a quality product” and have expanded their online-customer base into 25 states.
“Envision what you want your business to be, then outline the steps necessary to opening that business,” says Joel, “it will be a learning process, and each step that you can anticipate will make things easier and allow you to avoid surprises and/or missteps along the way. It’s a big leap from doing something as a hobby to having a sustainable and rewarding business.”
While building a marketing strategy and creating a customer-base are key to small business success, it takes connections and community to really establish a brand. That’s where Made in Nevada came in to connect, promote, and support Melba & Hazel in-state and beyond. “We joined Made in Nevada because we wish to build upon the sense of community that has allowed us to share ideas and develop relationships,” says Joel. Legislative Day, Showcase Nevada, and BizBash networking events are all designed for Made in Nevada members to connect with customers, potential business partners, and state lawmakers – growing the Nevada business community into a web of passionate and supportive entrepreneurs!
Growing a network means increased visibility, and Melba & Hazel are taking full advantage of every opportunity. This year, you can find them at Wyld Market events in the Reno area, the Carson Farmer’s Market, Truckee Thursdays Street Festival, Ski Run Farmers’ Market and the Austin Pet Expo! And this is only the start for the pet food company. “Our goal is to have a viable and sustainable business extending throughout the United States, online and through more physical locations,” says Joel, “We draw immense satisfaction in being recognized as having quality products that all dogs love.”