Manchester Pet Supplies
As consumers become more conscientious of what ingredients end up in their food, Mike Scholtens, national sales manager of Manchester Pet Supplies (Manchester Pet), explains consumers are also worried about the diets of their furry friends. As the Ontario-based makers of Untamed, a new brand of all natural, preservative and additive-free dog and cat treats; Manchester Pet has seen huge success since launching the line in October 2014.
“People are willing to spend the money for treats they know are all natural and North American-made,” says Scholtens. “After dangerous recalls on chicken treats and other items manufactured in China in recent years, consumers are looking for a better alternative and that’s where we come in.”
Backed by a big name
Manchester Pet is affiliated with its parent company, Greenstar Plant Products Inc. (Greenstar). Well-known across Canada and beyond, Greenstar represents a wide range of brands in the lawn and garden market, as well as the growing pet supply segment.
“With a growing trend of private label consumer preference, there is a lot of potential for small and complimentary products to enhance the quality brands of food and accessories already being distributed into the pet channel,” considers Simon Hart, strategic brand manager for Greenstar.
In an effort to expand the pet channel, Greenstar acquired Manchester Pet in 2012. Scholtens came on board through the transition. “I’ve more or less grown up in the distribution business,” he details. “My father worked in candy and lawn and garden distribution and over the years, I’ve designed warehouses, performed supply chain management- basically learning it all from the ground up.”
This background puts Scholtens in a unique leadership position as Manchester Pet looks to penetrate new U.S. and western Canada markets. “We’ve steadily grown in the past several years and now the company has 80 employees,” he reveals.
With a 9,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Ontario, Manchester Pet is even manufacturing some of its own goods completely in-house. “We’re specifically focusing on the all-natural Untamed brand and products for dogs and cats,” says Scholtens. “We’re growing on the manufacturing side but we have a strong distribution channel arm as well with a distribution center in Langley, British Columbia and Cambridge serving all of Canada.”
Wild at heart, simple ingredients for a better diet
It’s Manchester Pet’s belief that the simplest ingredients are the best ones –that’s 100 percent pure chicken, duck or beef- no “mystery” ingredients. Simple ingredients also better reflect an animal’s proper diet.
“For many years dogs have been providing us with companionship, but before they were our domesticated pets they were natural born hunters,” says Manchester Pet’s Untamed brochure. “Over thousands of years they have adapted to living on human leftovers and eventually unnatural manufactured dog treats. Untamed is dedicated to providing healthy treats for your dog that nature intended them to eat. Bringing choices that take them back to their dietary roots in the wild.”
Scholtens says it’s this commitment to high-quality, preservative-free ingredients and grain-free treats backed by research and development and customer service that make Manchester Pet one of the best in the business. Furthermore, the company offers a range of pet crates and beds, dishes and bowls, holistic blends of dog food, leashes and collars, odor control and litter, pet supplements, grooming supplies and more in its lineup.
Making moves into new markets
With such success in Canada, Scholtens says Manchester Pet is poised for U.S. growth. “We’ve successfully grown the distribution arm of the business throughout western Canada, so now the next step is to enter the U.S. with Untamed,” he explains. “I think the timing is perfect and right now we’re in the process of choosing our partners, more specifically on the East Coast because that makes the most sense geographically.”
“We’re certainly not limited to that, but we want to go where we can work with good partners, so that’s the first step,” adds Scholtens. “Having the advantage of a thriving distribution business gives us an advantage because it will be relatively easy to but the proper channels in place.”
With the need for enhanced quality of brands of food and accessories already being distributed into the pet channel, Manchester Pet Supplies is stepping in to fill the void in the U.S. and Canada.