Healthy treats for cats and dogs
Who: Patrick Meiering of Zuke's
Where: Durango, Colorado
When: Started in 1996
The saying goes, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. In Patrick Meiering's case, what's good for the owner is good for the pet. In 1995, Meiering was out on a four-hour hike with his chocolate lab, Zuke, when he noticed his canine companion was looking a bit worn out. He shared some of his Clif Bar with Zuke and, after seeing Zuke's positive reaction, decided to create an energy bar just for dogs. "That was really the 'aha, whoa, cool' idea," says Meiering, 38.
When Meiering returned to his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a few days later, he quit his job at a consulting firm and spent $15,000 of his own money and money borrowed from friends and family to create the first batch of Power Bones energy/endurance supplements in his garage.
Meiering perfected Power Bones by testing them on Zuke. When he was satisfied with the results, he began selling his product to local pet and natural-food stores. Zuke further inspired his owner when Meiering noticed his pet wasn't as mobile as before. In 2000, Meiering came up with Hip Action, nutritious treats loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin to help dogs and cats with joint pain. In 2001, he moved the business to Durango.
Today, Zuke's, named after Meiering's beloved inspiration, has eight employees and seven product lines, the newest of which is Z Ridge, an edible dental chew bone for dogs. Meiering projects 2005 sales to exceed $2 million.