It all started with a dog named Lucy
Our quest for creating a safe and healthy dog treat began in 1999 when Lucy, Breann’s 11 year old English Cocker Spaniel, became extremely picky about what she would eat. She had developed food allergies that prevented her from eating just any treat. We tried most of the treats on the market looking for one that was not only safe and healthy, but one that Lucy would eat. After little or no success, we began reading about what was in pet food and treats. We were surprised to find the inferior quality of ingredients that are typically used in pet food products. As a result of these findings and numerous conversations with veterinarians and pet nutritionists, we began to home cook Lucy’s meals and treats. She deserved the same quality food as the rest of the family. Surprisingly for a dog that had become very picky, she loved her home cooked meals and treats. The next step seemed natural; we wanted to be able to share with others the healthy and safe treat we were cooking for Lucy.
Our first Freeze-Dryer
Eric and I always joke about the fact that our first freeze-drier was older than both of us! She was small and mighty but took us through our first years of business.
Freeze-Dried Meatball Treats
Grandma Lucy’s was one of the first to introduce freeze-dried pet treats to the pet food market. This allowed our customers to trust the high-quality products we were making and our customer's pets loved the treats amazing taste and variety. For the first time, dogs were able to have some of the same delicious recipes the humans enjoyed such as Cheeseburgers, Chicken Parmesan or Pot Roast and they LOVED them!
Time to hit the road!
We started out by attending every pet event in our area. The word spread quickly. Pet store owners and pet owners were instantly supportive of our company’s new pet food products.
Pizza, Beer, and Meatballs
When we were not out selling our treats, we were in our company’s kitchen rolling meatballs by hand, baking, freeze-drying, and packing them. We could barely keep up with production. At night, we would bribe our friends with pizza and beer to help us hand roll our meatball dog treats so we could get them in the freeze-dryer for packing the next day. It was a lot but we would not change a minute of it.
Our first big order!
The next decade would bring many changes and innovations to the pet food industry with Grandma Lucy’s becoming a forerunner in the home prepared pet food category. Our continued focus on high quality, healthy products would gain the respect of pet owners and rave reviews from the pets. Distribution would swell from several hundred localized stores to several thousand stores throughout the US and Canada.
Oven-Baked Dog Treats
From Lemon Wedges to Ginger Snaps, we followed our freeze-dried meatball treats with some delicious baked treats. Modeled after some of our favorite family recipes, these were a quick favorite.
Owner and the future CEO
We have always enjoyed including our children in as much of Grandma Lucy’s as we can. Right when our first was born, we had a nursery in the office! They would attend local community events with us when they were little and have been known to pop in at a trade show or two.
Artisan is released
During the large pet food recalls of 2007, we had our customers calling us to ask if they could feed our treats as their pet’s everyday diet since they knew they could trust our ingredients. It was then that we created our first complete and balanced pet food diet - Artisan. This was a big turning point for us and we were so happy to be able to help pet parents feel safe in a trying time in the pet industry.
The Bear is Born!
Dogs love the great taste of their Organic Oven-Baked Dog Treats, but what dog owners love most is the fact that they are made with 100% organic ingredients. The treats are so tasty, dogs beg for more. Everyone in the office has an open bag on their desk and they’re not just for the dogs ;)
Big Plans Ahead
With the release and popularity of our new food line, we were busting at the seams. It was time to look for more space that would allow us to produce more of our delicious food and treats. We also had to make some room for a new addition to our freeze-drying capacity.
As we continued to grow, we would add freeze-dryers from time to time. They got the job done, but we worked hard to perfect our art of freeze-drying and there were just some things we couldn’t find in any of the pre-built machines. So with the help of our engineer friend, we started one of the biggest (and most expensive) projects we have ever done here at Grandma Lucy’s. We built a machine with all the bells and whistles which meant more freeze-dried food and treats for pets worldwide!
Second food line – Pureformance
Pureformance was born after we saw a need for a diet that helped, not only those full-of-energy dogs, but also those diabetic ones. It has a low glycemic index with the inclusion of chickpeas, which release energy into the body slowly to help maintain a consistent energy level. Finding solutions is what we do!
Making RSM our home - again
In 2013, an opportunity came up that we were not expecting. A building in the same city we had started Grandma Lucy’s in went up for sale. We were not looking to move but it was perfect! The company who owned it manufactured human food and had a similar mixing process to it and was built out just the way we would have dreamed. After a lot of thought, we took the jump and bought our first building and it was one of the best decisions we ever made!
With all this additional space we had in our new building, it was time to add some new freeze-driers to help keep up with demand. We added not one but THREE new freeze-driers which more than doubled our freeze-drying capabilities (and gave Eric more machines to play with).
Another great perk to our new building was our capability to increase our efficiency. We were able to take our already strict standards of procedure to a new level. Seen here, a huge selling factor of our new building was the ability for us to custom build our food mixers. These allowed us to gently blend our raw ingredients and then gravity feed them down to packaging.
Women of Influence Award
Breann wins Pet Age's Women of Influence award. The Women of Influence program honors and generates recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of women in the booming pet product field. We are honored to receive this award celebrating Breann!
Macanna wins the Pet Age Reader’s Choice Award!
Every single ingredient in Macanna was chosen with a specific benefit in mind and people noticed! In 2017, the readers of Pet Age Magazine awarded our Macanna food with their Reader’s Choice Award. In working with our veterinary partners, we combined some of the healthiest, most nutrient-rich superfood ingredients and proteins to mirror some of the top recipes in the human food industry. The results far exceeded our goals of creating a food for both highly-sensitive dogs and dogs of health-minded pet parents. Macanna also exceeded our taste tester’s hopes for a healthy and delicious food too and we are so proud.
First keto-like diet for Grandma Lucy’s
Again, listening to our customers, we found out they were looking for a keto-like diet that was family friendly. Moxie is a wonderful alternative for families who would like the benefits of feeding raw food without actually doing so. Those with newborns in the house who are careful about raw meat coming in contact with the baby when the dog licks them after eating, or those with service animals in immunocompromised households can really benefit from this product. Others will just love it because it’s delicious!
“We are thrilled and honored to be celebrating 20 years in this very competitive industry,” said Breann Shook, co-founder and owner of Grandma Lucy’s. “What initially started as a home remedy for our own family pup has developed into a greater solution enabling pets around the world to eat their way to better health. Grandma Lucy’s is honored to be able to celebrate this two-decade streak, and we hope to continue bringing health and nutritious goodness into people’s homes for many more to come.” Read our press release here!
Our spookiest treat yet
Halloween is a big deal at Grandma Lucy's because it is Eric’s birthday! Since we met in 1995, we have celebrated his birthday each year with an all-out Halloween / Birthday Costume Party so we were excited to finally come out with a treat for our favorite time of year.
Eric wins icon award
Eric Shook celebrates over 20 years in the pet industry and wins the Pet Age Icon Award! This annual award honors those pet professionals with long-term passion and success within the pet food community.
When we started Grandma Lucy’s,
who would have known that our first meatball recipe we made in our home kitchen, would lead us to where we are today. We still cannot believe it has been over 20 years since our journey began. Looking back on old photos, many of the memories seem like just yesterday. We took a passion and made it a business that we are so grateful to be able to share with you. Thank you to everyone we have met along the way and we look forward to sharing the next 20 years with you!
Breann and Eric Shook
Founders, Grandma Lucy's
Other Media Appearances