ANGOLA, N.Y. -- Each week in our City Shapers segment, we highlight the work of someone who is making a positive change, or building a business, in Western New York.
This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik introduces us to a Buffalo native who launched her own dog food company, Hound Fresh, last fall.
"We are a subscription-based meal delivery service, and our customers are dogs," says Margaret Kolodziejczyk.
Margaret moved back to Buffalo about three years ago to be close to her family. That's also when she adopted her dog named Comrade.
"And, Comrade had some allergy issues, and nothing that the vet was giving totally made it go away," says Margaret.
So, Margaret started looking into alternative treatments.
"And, that's when I kind of started exploring homemade cooking. And, once I started doing that, I noticed within really a few weeks, a substantial change in him in the allergies, and the itching and the skin issues really went away," she says.
As she learned more about the nutritional needs of dogs, she decided to launch her own dog food company.
"We worked with a nutritional veterinarian and they actually came up with the recipes that we use, so the recipes that we use are complete and balanced. We use them for all stages of life. And they use all human grade ingredients," says Margaret.
Margaret likes to use locally sourced food whenever possible. She scours farmers’ markets for fresh fruits and veggies like zucchini, kale, broccoli, and apples. But, the main ingredient is chicken.
"We use chicken thigh and this is hormone-free non-antibiotic chicken, so we would go ahead and put this in the bowl and that's really going to make up the bulk of our recipe," says Margaret.
Hound Fresh has grown through word of mouth. Margaret has two employees. And right now, she's selling directly to customers online.
"I think that the biggest piece of advice is not to give up. It's definitely a long process. But it's also a really rewarding process. When I think of how I started just a year ago and kind of where we are today, you know, I'm really proud of that and I would say definitely sometimes it gets frustrating, but not to give up," she says.
She says that as a new business owner, Buffalo has been a really supportive city with a lot of great programs for entrepreneurs. In the next year or so, Margaret would like to expand in the Northeast. She's also looking into the possibility of starting a line of cat food.
If you'd like to nominate someone to be a City Shaper, you can email Kelly Dudzik.