This year is shaping up to be a pretty great year for Truman Schrock and Beaverdam Pet Food after a very
difficult year emotionally in 2018.
Beaverdam has a new 8,400-square-foot warehouse in Greenwood and a $250,000 SBA loan that helped them buy the building. That new facility is helping Truman distribute more efficiently to 150 stores in the mid-Atlantic region that have been the backbone of his business.
But he’s dipping his toe in the water to serve customers outside of the region, thanks to the decision to start offering his products through Amazon later this year (he’s already on Chewy.com). With those new initiatives, he hopes to double 2018 sales, which were somewhere north of $1 million (Schrock won’t be any more specific than that).
“We’re moving a trailer load a week and that’s a lot of dog food,” says the 79-year-old Schrock, who is still coping with losing his wife of 57 years last August. He adds that the company’s focus is and always will be on the stores that built his business over the past 16 years.
He started in 2003 selling to farmers and local feed stores after working for 30 years in animal nutrition and realizing that most pet owners don’t know much about what they’re serving them.
He says his products offer digestive aids, using yucca (cactus) to neutralize acid. There’s no artificial coloring and he says his food is cleaner and better for pets. Outsiders agree; he received 4.5 stars (out of five) from Dog Food Advisor and was described on their site as “highly recommended.”
Schrock takes a homespun approach to the business that offers plenty of lessons for other entrepreneurs. He quoted Frank Sinatra song lyrics (“I’m doing it my way”) and mentioned Will Rogers twice, once to say he “tells the truth; if you can do it, it ain’t bragging.”
He keeps it simple — only four lines of food. He says he focuses on keeping costs low and quality high. The company’s longtime tagline talks about putting the money in the bag not on it, a slogan developed when he got a high-priced proposal for redesigning the bag. His marketing budget is minimal (“if you listen to my story, I’ll give you a 5-pound bag; I’ve given away thousands over the years.”)
He’s clearly proud of what he’s developed and very aware of the competition. Of one major name-brand company, he says “they’re not top-grade, but they are expensive,” which sent this writer scurrying to the internet to check out the comparisons.
All that’s resulted in 15-16 years of consistent growth “at comfortable levels.” He’s kept his staff small, with daughter Christine Trivits keeping everything moving and hiring other family members (“we’re feeding four families now,” he says).