Sen. Tom Carper was in Sussex County Oct. 25 to witness the business operations success story that is Tail Bangers, the makers of all-natural dog treats produced and shipped from Long Neck.
Since 2004, entrepreneur and former culinary professional Lisa St. Clair has been manufacturing bakery-style gourmet dog treats to pet stores throughout the East Coast and Mid-West as the owner of Tail Bangers.
"I started making dog treats in my shed, and selling them at street fairs," St.Clair said. "I learned shelf life and production to provide gourmet treats and cases for pet stores."
With her focus on all-natural ingredients and high-end products for pups, which come with their own bakery-style display case at retailers, she has been able to create a market for her dog-biscuit bakery.
Over the years, St.Clair has upped production and staff over the years to expand into two neighboring units in the Cove Village shopping center where her bakery and production facility is currently located.
With 27 employees, she is currently able to produce nearly 14,000 freshly-baked, all-natural, hand-painted dog treats each day.
As demand continues to grow for Tail Bangers, St. Clair said she has exceeded her space in Long Neck and she is now looking at properties in Millsboro to move her production facility.
St. Clair said funding her business growth has sometimes been a challenge over the years, but with the help of a small business loan backed by the federal government, she has been able to continue expanding the business.
When Carper recently made several stops in Sussex County, he said he was stopping in to make sure the government is making good investments in backing small business loans.
"Here in Delaware, using state and federal funds we are trying to create a nurturing environment for small businesses to start up, grow and be successful," Carper said.
According to St. Clair, the federal funds have helped, but the key to her business success has been making a unique product, hard work and commitment.
"All my stuff is crazy, like doggie cannolis and biscottis," she said. "But it's all about hard work. Money is a byproduct of success, but if you don't love it, you can't do it."
To purchase Tail Bangers gourmet dog treats, visit local retailers including Concord Pet and Crazy Grannies Pet Supply in Oak Orchard.