By Sue Moore
At age nine, Sofia Martin is getting started in the world of entrepreneurship with her dog-biscuit business. “I wanted to make some money. My mom’s friend, Alysse Thomas, gave me her recipe for making treats for dogs. I started making them last summer, then went around my neighborhood, looking for people with dogs who lived near me.”
The Martin family lives in the Greenfield Pointe neighborhood, near Tobey elementary school, which has a Scotts address.
Each week she makes a double batch of 180 treats, most to sell and some for her own dog. As a vendor at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market, Sofia estimates she will probably need to make two double batches and a single batch in order to have 500 to sell.
The price for 30 treats is $5, 15 biscuits for $3. The first sample is free. They are made out of peanut butter and pumpkin mix and dogs love them. “Alysse told me that pumpkin is good for dog’s digestion,” Martin explained.
Each batch takes her about an hour to prepare and an hour to bake. Her dad, Scott, helps her roll out the dough because it’s tough for her to do all by herself. Then she packages them in a plastic bag and starts her weekly deliveries in the neighborhood. Sales, she says are all by word of mouth.
Sofia has her own dog, Javi, to do a test run on. He came from a neighbor breeder of miniature golden doodles. “There were five little puppies as we walked by, nearly a year ago. It was a spur of the moment purchase and helped to inspire my new business,” she said.
While staying home, staying safe, Martin does her school work in the morning. She is a 4th grade student of Jane Harbener. “I’m doing pretty well in school; I love to read. In the afternoon I get to go outside and entertain my puppy. He got out and almost ran away. Gladly we got him back. Now I walk him on a leash as he just turned one a few days ago. He’s named Javi after one of my dad’s favorite Cubs baseball player, Javier Baez.”
Her dad is from Kalamazoo and grew up a Cubs fan. Her mom, Breanna, grew up on Austin Lake and knew Thomas from their grade school years at Tobey. She is a 2001 Vicksburg High School graduate and graduated from Western Michigan University in 2005. Her first job was teaching in Galesburg for five years. Now she is a math and reading instruction aide at Tobey when school is in session. Sofia has an older brother, Brayden, and younger brother, Nolan. Neither has any interest in her budding business venture, her mom says.
Sofia will turn 10 in June and is looking forward to being a vendor at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market when the season starts on June 5. “Live, Love, Bark” is the name of the business. “We got it by looking at the internet and just kind of came up with that wording,” Sofia says.
By Sue Moore