BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Industries across the board are struggling to meet demand as the nation feels the impact of the supply chain disruption, including pet products.
"All the big chain stores, especially with the pandemic here their shelves have been really low," said Alicia Sparks, owner of The Knotty Puppy.
According to the Pet Food Institute, domestic dog and cat food was a $40 billion industry last year. However, in June the institute reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the disruptions to human food production, reduced availability of plant- and animal-origin ingredients that pet food makers rely on.
While this has led to higher prices and less availability of products — another unexpected outcome has been the increase in small local pet product businesses.
“The industry has grown a lot in Bakersfield," said Bob Vella.
Vella runs Penny Pet Products in Bakersfield and has been in the business for several years now. He said especially recently, he’s seen the increase in desire for natural, locally made pet treats and food.
“Majority of the products we make ourselves, we dehydrate a lot of single protein products. We also do dog food and all kinds of chew toys and chew bones," Vella said.
For many of these local businesses, their products are not only natural, but the ingredients used come from other local producers in Kern County, continuing the chain of support for local businesses.
“You know we want to feed them as clean as we can," said Vanessa Grijalvia, owner of Pet Tails Co. "I know there’s a lot of people out there who like that and they like to support small businesses.”
For other local pet product business owners, even those who are just starting in the market, they say response and sales have been promising this year.
“Small business is a big deal, especially in Bakersfield," said Sparks.
As far as pricing, a quick search online shows that not only are their products competitive but in some cases even more affordable. At Penny Pet Products, a 24-pound bag of dog food costs $65 with free shipping. This compares to other online stores where similar-sized bags cost anywhere between $45 to $70 with an additional $35 shipping fee.
"A lot of people are busy, we do a lot of home delivery so it takes that out of the equation for them," Vella said.