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Thank you.

I want to start by saying thank you to all of my customers, your support and understanding has been touching, to say the least. I’m constantly thanked for continuing to supply food for your beloved pets but really I’m one of the lucky few considered an essential service and able to stay open.

The reason we are able to operate Health Mutts is because of all of you, our customers, respecting our requests to stay at a safe distance by ordering in advance and picking up on the steps, to keep our risk of the virus relatively low.

The true heroes in this scenario are people working the front lines risking their own health, and all of the people who have to sit at home not knowing what their futures and employment looks like, I realize the stress and mental toll this takes.

Many of my fellow small businesses will not re-open their doors when this is over, I can’t imagine being in that position and how stressful it would be to not know. My heart goes out to all of you that are stressed, suffering, waiting, hoping.

I am sure that if Health Mutts was not considered essential and I had been forced to close my doors for months the business would not have recovered. I still don’t know that we will survive this, the economy is a mess, people’s spending habits have changed and cost and sourcing of materials is becoming unpredictable.

We purchased a converted container freezer last year, and it has come in handy as the markets are becoming erratic. We already experienced a chicken shortage that we were able to mitigate by stocking the large storage freezer. There was a spike in pork prices late last year that has yet to resolve itself that forced us to increase my prices.

As many may have seen in the news, this week, the cost of beef spiked due to the closures of some processing plants across Canada and the US due to COVID19. Although we buy locally, the beef market is connected and has affected our prices with a sudden 30% increase. We have been able to stock up on some beef at reasonable prices, but we now know that the market may be unstable for a while. I hope things stabilize soon.

These are the first real issues I have had with my supply chain and, I am doing my best to minimize the problems for my customers and my business. Not only do I need to continue to supply food but I need to keep it affordable but it is impossible to absorb a 30% hike in cost of materials.

On a straight price comparison. some think my prices are high in comparison to other products, what you may not know is we have less than a 35% profit margin so I can keep the products affordable. So obviously, when raw materials take a 30% hike, our profit takes a 30% decrease. The industry norm is about 70-100% mark up over cost to produce because most producers don’t sell direct to the public. If you sell products through other retailers they require 35-40% profit, the producer also needs a profit margin. We are attempting to weather this by keeping our prices as consistent as possible, but as a small, still new business, we may have to evaluate this.

That being said, comparing products based solely on price is not always accurate. Health Mutts was started because when I looking for a food for my dog Nuk, I was disgusted with the dog food industry. Although raw is seen as better than kibble in many circles, both raw and kibble companies were using discards (discards can still be called human grade) which can often be excessively fatty, less nutritionally dense or otherwise not ideal for a beloved pet’s diet. Health Mutts products are made from restaurant quality cuts, and cuts like the tenderloin go into the mix. Many new customers who try our food after using other pre-made raw products say they’re surprised that our food actually looks like meat - color and texture. Also, we trim all excess fat and our products range from 7-9% fat, while many raw products are up to 20% fat. You’re paying for that extra fat, which is unnecessary and unsafe in most pet dog diets. I have also studied and am certified in Canine Nutrition as well as Raw Nutrition and Health Mutts recipes were developed based on nutritional science, as well as audited by other nutrition experts and knowledgeable vets. Our small staff was selected because of their existing education and experience in nutrition and raw feeding. Comparing anything exclusively on price is misleading and a pet peeve of mine. Is the value the same for a fast food burger as one made by a chef in a nice restaurant? Or one you’d make at home with fresh beef on the BBQ?

Word of mouth is all I have had going for me, you all get it and you tell all your friends, I cannot thank you all enough! You are the reason my business has grown for the past 4 and ½ years, is still open and is the reason I love my job!

I’d like to give a shout out to Planet Paws Dartmouth and The Barking Lot (Fredericton) for being supportive and working with a newbie to business who never intended to be a wholesaler. Thanks for carrying, promoting and supporting another local, small business, especially through our growing pains of supply, wholesale etc.

I will admit to being an idealist, I often lead with my heart before my head, it may not be the smart way to run a business but it is how I choose to run mine.

What I can say now is that we are doing the best we can to mitigate the circumstances, we will continue to roll with the punches as they come. And we will remain transparent and keep you in the loop - changes to any hours or policies will be posted here and we will give 48 hours notice to any significant changes. We also encourage you to sign up for email notifications via our website (we won’t spam you and will mostly use direct emails to let you know of hour changes or any other important updates (as well as any promotions and specials).

Be safe and we hope to see you back in the store as soon as possible. We miss the chats 

- Selena