Talk about going to the dogs!
Alaska's famed canine snack, Yummy Chummies, a wild Alaska salmon product produced in Anchorage by Brett Gibson's Arctic Paws, has netted a national contract with Sam's Club.
Gibson got confirmation of the purchase order in late July for thousands of bags of the original Yummy Chummies, a soft, and chewy salmon treat made in Alaska with wild Alaska salmon. The snack offers dogs nutritional benefits that include the omega-3 rich salmon oil. Yummy Chummies Gold, another Arctic Paws product, is carried by Costco stores nationwide.
Arctic Paws also offers a needed outlet for fish processors in Alaska who need to dispose of the rest of the fish after filleting or roe stripping. The company currently purchases the heads, bellies, trim, tails, collars and skin of salmon filleted by several Anchorage area seafood processors, plus another in Valdez.
These byproducts come in iced, ready for the production line, so that ultimately there is full utilization of the fish, said Gibson, who is passionate about that topic.
To combat the high cost of transporting the finished product in a timely manner to meet demand of Lower 48 customers, Arctic Paws has established a new warehouse and packaging facility in Phoenix, Ariz., and will likely add production facilities later, while also maintaining production facilities in Alaska, said Gibson, who employees about four dozen people in Anchorage, and eight in Phoenix.
Establishing the Arizona facility will allow Arctic Paws to continue to expand its customer base without raising prices, he said.
Shipping inventory from Alaska to buyers in the Lower 48 continues to be a growing cost for producers in Alaska.
Another advantage of Phoenix is a very dry climate, where the ovens used for production won't have to work as hard to dry fish, he said.
Arctic Paws also has a partnership of several years with Purrfurred Pet Foods, a Florida firm with extensive experience in the supplying and managing of various proteins that go into diets and treats, Gibson said. This partnership has helped with the marketing and business side of moving this high protein product, he said.
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