Small Business Development Center

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    Superior Area Entrepreneur Builds Successful Dog Food Business

    Posted on Jan 27, 2012
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    Superior Area Entrepreneur Builds Successful Dog Food Business

    Entrepreneur Eric Morris knows he has the best dog food on the market for his performance dogs. That's because he created it himself. And in 1998 he launched his business Redpaw Inc. around his superior product, now a top selling brand of dog food for sporting and working dogs. To grow his successful business, Morris received assistance from UW-Superior Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

    "I was in business for five years or so when I got in contact with the SBDC," says Morris. "I contacted them for some advice, and Julianne [Raymond] met with me for few hours to discuss my business and what I was doing."

    After that meeting, Morris took the Entrepreneurial Training Program at the SBDC. "That helped me realize that I have to take advantage of the resources that are available to me. And there were more resources available than I thought," says Morris. "The course taught me that I need to pay attention to other businesses and how other businesses are run and follow those models. It also taught me the value of a plan."

    As a research scientist, Morris had the expertise and access to facilities to research various aspects of a dog's diet. As a musher himself with a kennel of sled dogs, he was able to develop his dog food in an actual kennel of working dogs.

    "I followed what the dog was telling me was proper for the diet, not necessarily what the industry was saying was correct for a dog's diet," notes Morris. "Since we were testing in working sled dogs, we were able to spot the deficiencies in their diet very quickly and very easily."

    Redpaw employs eight and is headquartered in Franklin with kennels in Port Wing, near the northern tip of Wisconsin. Its dog food is carried by retailers throughout North America and is the largest selling brand of dog food in the state of Alaska. Morris reports 25 to 30 percent growth over the last seven years. "We have finally eclipsed the survival stage," he says. "And we now are moving on to a big phase of growth. We are expanding, introducing a new product line that will go into widespread distribution in the first quarter."

    While Morris continues to grow his business, he appreciates the business assistance available at the SBDC. Today he is even a mentor in the entrepreneurial class that once helped him. "I owe something to the SBDC. They helped me a lot, and so helping them out is pretty easy for me to do."

    For more information on this successful Wisconsin business, check out www.redpawfeed.com.

    Article written by freelance writer Leah Call (lcall@mwt.net ).

    News Contact: Jean Rutherford | 715-394-8351 | jrutherf{atuws}
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