“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” That Lennon tune began bouncing about between my ears as Deb Matthews and Chey Larson presented the opening scene. “Chase Your Tail Bakery is what happens when the telecom company you work for exclaims, ‘Looky there, we’re bankrupt,’” said Deb.
It was 2003, and what followed was a simple internet search for a soft dog crate. A query that ended, like searches do, a few degrees off mark. “Look,” said Deb. “There’s a dog treat bakery for sale in western Michigan.” “Focus,” replied Chey. “Dog crate.”
And…life began to happen. The gears and wheels turned, random thoughts became ideas and next day Deb reached out to a local woman striving to open a doggie daycare. “Not interested in a partner,” the woman replied to Deb’s question. “However, I am searching for a dog treat baker.” “EUREKA,” barked Deb.
“I couldn’t get back to the computer fast enough,” she said. At Deb’s return Chey said, “After you called, I searched. The Michigan bakery has no bids.” After a bit of negotiating, Deb was the proud owner of the bakery and, winged her way to meet the former owner half-way, in Cleveland. She rented a truck, helped the baker load up his wares, had a quick meeting, an exchange of keys, a 6-hour drive east and, as they say, the rest is history.
From the handful of sales each month in the beginning, Chase Your Tail Bakery has been nurtured into the thriving and still growing business whose products your pets enjoy each week. “We are thankful to our wonderful local farmer’s market customers. They are the heart of our business. Their loyalty has resulted in the greatest part of our growth,” said Chey.
“It is our responsibility to offer our local customers, local products. It only makes sense to include our pets in the “eat local” movement,” reasoned Deb. “Our own flock of chickens produce the eggs for our treats. We source many of our ingredients from farmer’s market vendors – milk, apples, sweet potatoes. “This year,” said Chey, “we added wheat-free dehydrated sweet potato treats and popcorn with natural beef powder. And, on the feline side of things, we planted more than 70 catnip plants on our property south of Leesburg, with plans to triple our catnip production in the upcoming season.”
“Most of our weekly treat baking is done at Dog Day Afternoon, in Leesburg, an organization founded to meet the socialization and training needs of dogs,” Deb continued. “We simply could not keep up with product demand in a home-based facility.”
Many treat recipes, still in use, were purchased with the bakery. Others have been developed through extensive research into both recipes and the nutritional needs of animals. These ladies constantly strive to improve their products, using human-grade ingredients. “Ours is a continuous search for the most enjoyable and nutritious treats to bring to our customers,” said Chey. “After all, we know the one calling the shots, here, is your pet. If they like our treats, the Chase Your Tail booth will be on their shopping list. And, I really think they know my favorite customers are the ones who sit in front of the table, panting, as they watch every treat their owners choose, drop into a bag.”
“We are proud to be included in the Loudoun Farmer’s Markets, and enjoy meeting and chatting with all our customers, whether they arrive on two legs or four,” concluded Deb. The ladies at Chase Your Tail Bakery look forward to seeing you on Saturdays at the Leesburg Market, and on Sundays at Cascades.
Deb Matthews and Chey Larson…living, breathing proof that “life is what happens…”
Chase Your Tail Bakery can be found at our Leesburg and Cascades markets as well as at Dog Day Afternoon in Leesburg, at the Falls Church and Mosaic Central Farm Markets in Fairfax.