The Roswell location of Red Bandana Pet Food at 2500 Old Alabama Road is the launch site for just such an operation.
Rusty’s Bakery opened there last month with chef Tisha Garcia, formerly proprietor of Wedding Cakes and More in Florida, at the helm. Garcia is turning out handcrafted, all-natural pet treats such as carob brownies, pumpkin “woof-les,” sweet potato muffins and old fashioned “pea-mutt” butter cookies designed with man’s best friend in mind.
To come up with her own recipes, “I studied a whole box of dog cookbooks. I made a list of ingredients that were good and bad,” Garcia said.
“It’s been a very interesting experience as my whole life I’ve used sugars and butters, and, of course, that’s a ‘no, no’ now.”
Bagged Rusty’s items have a shelf life of 21 days unopened and 30 days or more in the fridge.
“We do not use any chemicals or preservatives in anything we bake. So keeping the items in the fridge really is key,” Garcia said.
She gets lot of helpful feedback from pet owners, such as whether their dogs enjoyed certain items more than others.
Customers who bring their dogs to Rusty’s can get free samples of the baked treats.
“I have as yet not had a single dog pass on one of my cookies,” Garcia said.
Prices for the baked goods are $4.99 and up for a baker’s dozen of the treats. Individual treats will also be available through the stores as Garcia cooks up new flavors and treats to try The canine confections are currently only cooked at the Roswell location and then distributed to the other stores. Future plans include adding a full production bakery at the corporate office of Atlanta-based Red Bandana. The bakery is named in honor of Rusty, the 7-year-old red bloodhound that is company mascot, epresentative and official treat approver. As the bakery grows it will add birthday and special event cakes and customized treats for customers’ celebrations.
“I actually started making dog birthday and bow-vow wedding cakes made out of carrot cake filled with pate and iced in mashed potatoes when I was in the wedding cake business for friends and customers who could not find any other dog bakeries in the area,” Garcia said.
So far, the dogs seem to be enjoying the “pea-mutt” butter cookies the most, she said.
Even their owners will occasionally give the treats a taste test, although Rusty’s doesn’t endorse that practice.
“We don’t make treats for humans and our packaging states that our products are not intended for human consumption,” said Jay P. Margedant, president of Red Bandana.
“However, we’ve all tried them and find them tasty and customers are doing the same on their own. We have had some diabetic customers remarking how tasty the treats are but again, we are not selling, marketing or intending for our treats to be consumed by our customers, just their pets.”
Information: (770) 587-6900.