Gunner Dog Treats hopes to fetch FedEx Small Business Grant
Eyeing the chance to win $50,000, Craig resident Kathy White finds herself competing against thousands of businesses across the country in the FedEx Small Business Grant contest through her company Gunner Dog Treats.
The first round of cuts in the grant process will bring the number of contestants down to 700, before further cuts will occur to get down to the top 100. After the top 100 are chosen, those businesses have to record a second longer, more in-depth pitch for the chance to win the $50,000.
Knowing she’d be competing against thousands of businesses across the country, White said that the application process was a strenuous one.
“We had to answer questions based on how we wanted to expand our business, how COVID has affected us and then, of course, we had to do an elevator speech to help promote ourselves,” White said.
White, who named Gunner Dog Treats after an old family dog and started the small business three years ago, works on the business part time on top of her job at Craig Station.
“Actually, when I was talking to one of my FedEx representatives she said ‘hey have you heard about our FedEx Small Business Grant?’” White said. “So they sent me the link and when I looked into it, I thought oh my goodness, what a perfect way for me to grow.”
White has cornered an interesting piece of the market as she sells wild game antler bones and femur bones for dogs to chew on.
“All of my smoked bones are made out of wild game, because obviously we have a lot of wild game here in the valley,” White said. “So I take the leftover femur bones from elk, deer and antelope and I smoke those and of course we sell them by size, according to the dog size and how aggressive of a chewer they are.”
As a result of COVID, Gunner Dog Treats has had to adapt and move more online compared to what she would usually do with door-to-door delivery or other more personal forms of delivery.
Voting in the competition just opened up on March 10, which means that White is not nervous yet. However, she was nervous while recording the pitch video.
“I’m a social butterfly,” White said.. “I can get up and speak to people in a conference room and I can do training and of course sell to customers in person, which is what I was doing until COVID hit. I’d go to farmers markets, summer events, I’ve even done a couple expos, but when I had to get in front of my own camera to record my elevator speech I was stumbling for words even though I knew what I needed to say,” White said. “So, that was the hardest part. I wouldn’t say I’m nervous; I’m anxious.”
As there is a lot of money on the line, with the third place finisher getting $15,000, the second place finisher getting $30,000 and the winner getting $50,000, White could completely transform her business with that money.
“The first thing that I would do is upgrade some of my equipment. So, I need a bigger smoker because I can only do small batches at a time and then I would look at finding a better way to do the antler powder supplements, because that’s time consuming,” White said. “So equipment upgrades and then of course, I’d put some away for not rainy days, but situations like COVID, because I was selling at a lot of events last year and then I couldn’t do any. So, I had to switch gears and do a lot of research on ecommerce. So not only my website but I do a lot on eBay as well, and just to keep up with the competition I really need to invest in what kind of packing products can I have printed for me. That takes me to that professional level.”
It would mean a lot to White and her family to win the competition and honor their dog Gunner in that way.
“I’d probably cry, he was a special dog and you know this was a dream. After a couple years when I finally decided to do the business, and start my own small business, it’s time consuming,” White said. “You know, that would take Gunner to a whole new level. I’d be very proud and very honored if even I could win third place.”
For those interested in voting for White and Gunner Dog Treats, vote at https://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com/entry/AqOPlWiAsx.
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