Made in the Northwest: Kritter Kookies Bakery
DEER PARK, Wash. — Lucy Gladhart always wanted to own her own business in the pet field. So ten years ago, the former veterinary clinic manager bought Kritter Kookies Bakery.
“It’s been a really fun experience,” said Gladhart.
The bakery makes Smackin’ Snax, a pet treat made in all different shapes and sizes, but from single recipe.
“They’re all natural and they’re chicken liver treats,” said Gladhart. “No preservatives, no additives and they stay fresh for over a year.”
She calls them a complete protein snack.
“What that means is that it has all the essential amino acids that your dog needs everday. So it’s a great addition to their regular diet.”
And they’re not just for dogs or cats.
“Any protein eating critter could eat them,” Gladhart explained. “Ferrets, sugar gliders, pigs.”
In the bakery, the ingredients for Smackin’ Snax are mixed into 10 lbs. loaves of dough. That dough is then flattened into a sheet, formed into shapes and then baked for an hour at a low temperature.
“So it keeps all the nutrients in the product,” said Gladhart. And then, after they’re baked, they’re dehydrated overnight so it takes the moisture out naturally.”
And everything at Kritter Kookies is done by hand.
“Whether it’s the baking, the packaging, the labeling of the bags, the deliveries of the product.”
Gladhart’s dog is part of the team, too, serving as a quality control employee.
“She loves to taste test the dough and cookies right out of the oven, just like we would.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created some ups and downs for the company, beginning with not being able to find enough flour. But Gladhart says once they did, “Business grew by 30% because of COVID. More people were buying pets because they’re at home more, so they need more food and more treats.”
COVID struck again before Thanksgiving, when Gladhart and her husband both tested positive for the virus and had to close the bakery for two weeks.
“But now, we’re trying to catch up because of Christmas,” she explained. “Everybody wants presents for their pets.”
But Gladhart is hoping to retire soon and would love to sell the bakery to a customer.
“Because then they would know the product and have a passion for the product,” she said.
And it would help ensure Smackin’ Snax are still around for your pets for another 25 years.
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