All About Us
“Pets Go Raw” is manufactured in Cranbrook, B.C. by Top Hand Supplies Ltd. We (Stu and Sherin Laurie) started the business by making food for our Shiba Inu dogs. A handler fed it to one of our dogs that she was showing. We were so impressed by his coat and condition that we decided to change to the frozen, raw food. We started out by feeding another brand, but were not really happy with it. So we started out researching the product and experimenting in our home near Skookumchuck. We wanted a product that we felt confident to be feeding both our mature dogs and the young puppies on weaning. When we had settled on a recipe, we bought a small grinder and started bagging by hand. As friends and acquaintances saw our dogs, they wanted to change their diet as well, so we started producing in our kitchen evenings and weekends. This quickly got to be too much. We decided to expand.
We incorporated the company and sold shares to raise working capital. We leased a building in Cranbrook in February of 2004, and have since purchased this building. At first, we thought that we would rent out half the space as we could not imagine ever using it all, but within six months we had grown to the size where we needed all the building space. Since then we have expanded the building by adding 4 more large walk-in freezers/coolers, a packing room and a loading dock.
We are constantly looking for more room – so more expansion is planned in the not too far distant future. When we moved “into town” we started by grinding the product in a fairly large grinder and then had a mixer-grinder to totally mix the product. This beat the hand mixing for sure. We packaged in bread loaf tins – putting the product in by hand and freezing.
Then the pans were emptied and the frozen loaves put into bags. This was extremely labour intensive and not very satisfactory. Next we obtained a water-hydraulic sausage stuffer that we loaded by hand and tied the sausages by hand. We stuffed large diameter sausages, froze them and then cut them to approximate weight. This worked reasonably well, but it was hard to produce sausages that were even in diameter and the saw had to be constantly adjusted to cut patties to size. This style of product has a limited storage life as it is open to the air. At this point, we purchased a bull-cutter, which is somewhat like a huge mixer with very sharp cutting blades. This machine replaced the mixer-grinder and made for a more uniform product. We also went to a sausage stuffer that was semi-automatic.
It did work somewhat better, but the sausages were still inconsistent, were hand tied and had to be cut with a saw. It was also subject to “freezer-burn”. We now (2015) have more viable machinery – a good grinder, a bowl-cutter, an automatic sausage stuffer and a semi-automatic clipper that staples the sausages. In 2016 we are looking to replace the one-stage grinder with an automatic three-stage one. To handle the increased amount of production the grinder will give us, we are going to retire our small bowl-cutter and replace it with one that will handle double the product that we can do currently. Our sausage stuffer and clipper will still be able to handle the volume that we will produce.
Our packaging has also evolved. We now offer some products in one pound sausages, and we also offer a 5 pound sausage for people who need the larger volume of food. Much of our products are now being cut to size (1/2lb and 1/4lb) and either shrink wrapped with double wrapping, or offered in Bulk Boxes. We are committed to producing a top quality product for a reasonable price. When you are in Cranbrook, B.C. come and visit us, tour our plant and see how our product is made. We are very proud of our staff and facilities and love to show them off. Stu sold the company to Sherin and has since retired. Sherin and her fantastic crew continue to produce a great product to help promote health in our pets. We are moving forward to give you the very best pet food that we can.
Take care….. keep your pets healthy and happy with a GREAT FOOD – Sherin
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