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Dogs all over the country are going wild because of one man’s passion for dogs coupled with his personal motivation to stop practicing law.
14 years ago, Brett Gibson was in his kitchen in Anchorage, Alaska, cleaning three Sockeye salmon he had just caught in the Russian River and feeding the scraps to his boxer, Kila. At that moment, a news special came on television explaining that the Alaskan salmon industry was suffering because there was no market for all the scraps after the fish were processed and filleted.
Brett thought to himself, “For hundreds of years Alaskans have been feeding salmon to their sled dogs. Why aren’t we making dog food and treats with it?”
After a year of educating himself on the nutritional needs of dogs and experimenting with recipes, Yummy Chummies became a reality. The Wild Alaska Salmon dog treats quickly became a mainstay in Alaska – and still can be found in nearly any grocery or pet store in the state. In fact, Yummy Chummies outsell any other product on a weekly basis in the 3 Alaskan Costco stores! About 5 years ago, the little homegrown treat company began growing significantly. Brett tells us, “Eventually the sales of Yummy Chummies in the ‘lower 48’ were higher than sales in Alaska. We were making due but it became more challenging to justify manufacturing in Alaska because of logistics and economics.” You see, the popular treats began selling regionally in the Lower 48 but it was very expensive to deliver from Alaska and they were at the mercy of Mother Nature. “When a shipment gets delayed because of weather, our customers don’t care about that. They only see that the product wasn’t delivered on time.”
So, Brett made some large investments in Alaska that allowed him to secure 110,000 pounds of fresh salmon, halibut and cod daily. “We get the trim. The frames and bones are high in calcium, the heads are a good source of chondroitin, protein and collagen. The bellies and collars are all meat and high in omega fatty acids. The only thing we don’t get is the guts – our fish is very clean.” After the fish are filleted for human consumption, the rest of the fish is packed into human-grade totes then ground and frozen to -10 degrees – every day.
“Sometimes I’ll open up a carton in our plant and there will be a whole fish in the box because maybe the machine didn’t cut it properly and now they can’t sell it.” Brett chuckles, “I’ll take it home and eat it! We put a vacuum sealing machine in the plant, and my employees take fish home and feed their families with it.” That’s a testament to the quality and freshness of the fish the company uses in their dog treats.
Before Yummy Chummies, there was no use for the fish after the filets were made. The company is proud to be helping the Alaskan economy and it’s environment by using a sustainable product.
To solve their logistics problem, Brett decided to build a processing plant in Phoenix, Arizona. By May of last year, the plant was fully operational. “We still have our offices in Anchorage, but now we’re able to handle the growing demand by offering faster service and better prices.”
“We make everything we sell,” says Brett. “We control where our supplies come from. We control production.”
Yummy Chummies pays particular attention to the problems with Chinese ingredients and manufacturing. “We are a product of the USA,” he says proudly. In fact, 3 years ago the company made the decision to stop sourcing their packaging from China and now the bags and boxes are produced in Alabama. “We recently ordered pea flour and I could’ve saved 30 to 40% by buying from China, but we didn’t. We bought the U.S. pea flour.” Brett tells me he doesn’t even like to buy Chinese equipment for his plant. They only order from reputable, American-based companies.
Recently, Brett made a bid to get Yummy Chummies into every Costco store – and got it. Their opening order was huge. They produced about a million pounds of treats in 58 days to fill the order! Yummy Chummies are available in all Costco stores right now, in an exclusive 2.5 pound bulk bag. There’s even a $3.50 off in-store coupon running for the soft and chewy grain-free Alaska Salmon treats.
About Yummy Chummies, Brett says, “It’s a treat, yes, but there’s also got to be a health component. And it has to be desired by the dog.” So what makes Yummy Chummies healthy? Salmon has a very good fat/oil content. It is rich with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which can help dogs with skin problems and is great for aging dogs. They are low calorie – only about 11 calories per treat, with most of the calories coming from the fatty acids. They contain collagen and calcium because bones are included in the recipe. What’s more, salmon doesn’t naturally carry Salmonella. That being said, the treats are fully cooked and carefully monitored for food safety. Not to mention, dogs go crazy for the 95% salmon treats.
“People have told us their dog will sit and stare at the cabinet where the Yummy Chummies are kept,” he laughs. “Dogs are wild about Yummy Chummies!”
Yummy Chummies are a product of the United States, 100% sourced and made in the U.S., right down to the packaging. You can feed them to your dog knowing they’re healthy, safe, and made from human-grade ingredients all carefully selected for a reason – without unnecessary fillers or grains. Best of all, dogs LOVE them!
Support this American company, and treat your dog well, by picking up a bag of Yummy Chummies at your local Costco store. Learn more about Brett and the company by visiting YummyChummies.com and follow them on Facebook.