One area bakery has gone to the dogs. Literally.
Petibles Pet Bakery, located in the former Winn-Dixie shopping center on Furys Ferry Road in Martinez, opened nearly a month ago and caters to canine and feline customers.
"It took a long while for us to get this thing together and grow," said Patricia Gray, owner of the business, who currently resides in Orange Park, Fla. "It got started when a friend of mine had a dog that was allergic to everything. She developed recipes and went to a Los Angeles cooking school."
Gray partnered with her friend to open the first Petibles Pet Bakery in Orange Park. When the friend became sick and was unable to continue in the venture, Gray bought her share and continued the business. She decided to open a business in Martinez because of her impending move to the area next year. In the meantime, her sister, Sandy Griffin, is helping with the business.
"Petibles is the best thing that I have ever done," Gray said. "You know you are doing something great for pets and making people happy. It's wonderful."
Customers are invited to bring their pets with them while they shop.
"Everything looks like people food, but is made for pets," said Gray, adding that customers can test the food before purchasing it for their animals. "We have human taste-testers. We have different things that we use and let owners try. They often can't believe how good it tastes."
The products, most made on-site from natural ingredients such as carrots and green beans, are major sellers among a new generation of pet owners.
"People are waiting longer and longer to have children and for some grandparents, all they have are grand-dogs, so they like purchasing our treats for them," said Gray, adding that no honey, sugar, soy, salt, bi-products or preservatives are in their products. "I'm a diabetic, so I could eat anything in the store.''
Gray, who previously owned a horse ranch, said she has always baked and done different things for her pets.
"Only the best," she said. "It's endless. You just read more and more and realize the possibilities are endless."
The bakery, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, even prepares cakes for pet parties.
"We make nearly everything on-site, so it really is a hands-on business," Gray said.
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