65 Bessemer Road, London, Ontario, N6E 2G1
Year established -
311111 - Dog and cat food manufacturing
Major expansions -
Bosco and Roxy’s
Bosco and Roxy's is dog treat bakery that produces hand cut, baked, decorated cookies, and frozen treats – all for dogs!
Each day, employees must wash their hands, pull on hairnets and slide on shoe covers and lab coats before entering the pristine facility. The sweet smells of sugar and baked treats consume them as they cross the spotless grey floors, weaving in and out of towers of cooling racks and working stations with giant stainless steel machines cutting, icing, and packaging freshly baked cookies. The thousands of cookies produced are then shipped to destinations across North America to be enjoyed by the company’s discerning canine customers.
Bosco and Roxy’s is a gourmet dog treat bakery founded and based in London, Ontario, but renowned among dog lovers across the United States and Canada.
The company’s owners, Jaymie and Michelle Crook, started off selling frozen dog treats to customers of their dog kennel company, Country Paws Boarding, which has locations in both London and Kitchener, Ontario. In 2010, the Crooks decided to start a dog treat bakery and shop with the purchase of a 5,000 square foot facility on Global Drive in London. Michelle experimented with cookie recipes, Jaymie worked on logistics, sales, and marketing, and their close friend and business partner, Kate Giorgini, handled the company’s artistic/graphic design elements in terms of branding, logos, and treat designs.
The trio worked tirelessly, continuing to improve Bosco and Roxy’s products through experimentation with different recipes and ingredients. Their small oven baked five to eight shelves of cookies at a time. These products were displayed and advertised at major pet trade shows including PIJAC, Super Zoo, and the Global Pet Expo. Word of the company grew among independent and neighborhood pet stores, and Bosco and Roxy’s had soon created a strong presence in towns across Canada and the United States.
Since the company’s founding in 2010, the word that best describes Bosco and Roxy’s success is “growth.” The facility moved to a new location of 10,000 square feet in 2012, and to its current location (just under 30,000 square feet) in December 2014. Today, Bosco and Roxy can produce over 50 trays of cookies in one hour. The facility runs two eight-hour shifts per day, six days a week. The company’s staff has grown from three people to approximately 100 in the past six years. The product line that started with frozen treats now offers frozen and baked treats for every occasion, including birthdays, Hallowe’en, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. The company has consistently seen 80 to 120 per cent growth per year since its inception. Its primary customers are independent pet stores and big box stores (including Bed Bath & Beyond, Pet Valu, and Petco Animal Supplies), so 99 per cent of the business is wholesale. Seventy-five per cent of orders are shipped to the United States (US). Bosco and Roxy’s has a few American competitors in the US, however, they do not offer the same competitive edge.
Bosco and Roxy’s raging success can be attributed to its unique high-quality products and its effective “direct-to-consumer” model, which means no distributors are involved in the business. The bake-to-order business only makes what has already been ordered and sold. After an order is placed, the product is manufactured and shipped directly from the London, Ontario facility to the customer. The cost savings in reserving the money that would be dedicated to distributors is allocated to purchasing quality natural ingredients, developing innovative and creative products, and hiring exceptional employees.
Hiring is often challenging for manufacturers; however, according to Jaymie Crook, the key is “to find the right person for the right place.”
The skill sets needed at Bosco and Roxy’s vary. In the front, customers will find creative, detail-oriented staff with exceptional customer service. In the back, employees range from bakers and dough mixers to decorators, drawers, painters, and sculptors. The company recently hired a food scientist to further analyze and innovate recipes. Employees generally come from the greater London area. Jyamie is a graduate of Conestoga College while Michelle is a graduate of Fanshawe College. Jaymie is currently completing an MBA at Ivey Business School at Western University. The Crooks hope to develop educational partnerships with local schools as they continue to grow Bosco and Roxy’s facility and staff.
Bosco and Roxy’s is a proud Ontario manufacturer. Southwestern Ontario is an ideal location for manufacturers with a strong customer base in the United States. With the help of grant writers, the company has been able to take advantage of government programs (such as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive), as well as a grant from the Yves Landry Foundation.
The team continues to develop new products, and hopes to expand into more pet stores and big box stores in Canada and the US. Ears are perking up and tails are wagging all across North America, as the future of Bosco and Roxy’s looks bright.
For more information about Bosco and Roxy’s, visit their website.
Published: August 25, 2016
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