By Rebecca Henely
Manhattanite Nicole Townsend has two furry friends to thank for her business, out of Long Island City’s Entrepreneur Space.
Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuits Co., which sells locally sourced and organic canine treats, was inspired by Townsend’s 8-year-old Pomeranian Snowball and her sister’s 6-year-old Maltese Daisy. Townsend describes Snowball as a “foodie” who likes treats with overwhelming flavor, while Daisy is allergic to many of the ingredients in commercially sold dog treats, like wheat, soy and corn.
“As we looked into it, a lot of dogs have these kinds of allergies,” Townsend said.
Townsend wanted to make some snacks that would meet both pooches’ needs. After speaking to multiple veterinarians, she began about a year and a half ago making dog treats of her own. The dog biscuits contain organic ingredients and their recipes are based on cookies for humans.
“We just take out the sugar and make them dog-friendly,” she said.
While she initially made them for friends, Townsend eventually started selling the biscuits at street fairs and pet expos, and now sells them online and wholesale to groceries in Manhattan, Brooklyn, California and Connecticut. She has been able to expand her business in large part due to Long Island City’s food business incubator the Entrepreneur Space, at 36-46 37th St., which she has worked out of since November 2011.
“I love it a lot,” Townsend said. “I really think the equipment here is great and it really allows us to expand and grow with our customer demand.”
The biscuits are made up of meat and vegetable ingredients, often locally sourced. All have an organic oat flour base and include foods that dogs love, like peanut butter, salmon and cheese.
“At first smell, people are just overwhelmed by the flavor and surprised it’s a dog treat,” Townsend said of the product.
Spoil Me Rotten also sells special decorated biscuits with yogurt and carob frosting and cat treats made from a combination of wild Alaskan salmon, sweet potato and catnip.
A 6-ounce bag of dog biscuits costs $8.95 while cat treats cost $4.95 for a 3-ounce bag. Some products change with the season and vegan options are available as well.
Townsend said each batch of biscuits is tested by Snowball, who has been known to reject food that does not meet her standards of deliciousness.
“If it doesn’t taste good, she’s not eating it,” Townsend said.
Order at smrdogbiscuits.com.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.