Pet food company of Manchester specializes in ‘raw’ deals – Wicked Local Rockport

Growing in size since it’s inception over two years ago, local company “Raw To Go” provides a unique option for pet owners in the northeast.

The membership-based buying club provides raw pet food for dogs and cats, delivering to neighborhoods from Gloucester to Saco, Maine. Located in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the business touts the benefits that a raw diet can provide for pets, offering raw beef, chicken, turkey tripe and bones in bulk to members.

“There are enzymes that are contained in the meat that help with digestion, and also help with the immune system,” said Steve Lai, one of the co-founders of Raw To Go. “I think you really lose that with the kibble that people feed their dogs. Also, the bones help with keeping their teeth healthy, there’s not as much tartar when they eat raw. They have shinier coats and much better teeth.”

A family member who has been a dog breeder for over fifty years convinced Steve and his wife, Stacey, of how their dogs might benefit from a raw diet. After making the switch and seeing the benefits in their own pets, Steve and Stacey decided to found the business so that others might have the opportunity to provide the same type of diet for their pets.

“We saw a company in North Carolina that did this, and we decided to put a model together on how to run the business,” Lai said.

The Lais are no strangers to running unique local businesses: The husband and wife team also oversee the Children’s Drop and Shop, a twice-a-year consignment event that draws large crowds with the promise of purchasing clothing and gear for children. They were able to pour their experience into the creation and implementation of Raw To Go.

Steve describes the company as adhering to the “Just-In-Time” business model: Members put in their orders a week before a pre-defined deadline, and a delivery spot, date and time are set up for each delivery area. The North Carolina-based company that provides the flash-frozen raw food will deliver to the Lai’s home on the date of delivery, which is then handed off to drivers who deliver to members. The amount of drivers hired to deliver the food is determined based on membership need and how many deliveries need to be made.

“We thought, ‘Can we get the product and deliver it on the same date so we don’t have to carry any inventory?’” Lai said. “We thought it was important for us to do that because the product is perishable; we are dealing with frozen meat.”

A large truck will deliver the complete inventory for the month between 6 – 7 a.m. the day of delivery. The company then organizes drivers and deliveries so that the last stop happens just before dinner time the same day, around 5:30 p.m.

Raw To Go started out small, delivering locally before eventually expanding to deliveries to Boston, the Metrowest area of Massachusetts and even southern New Hampshire and Maine. The company now boasts more than 100 members across New England.

“When we started it pretty much contained to the North Shore,” Lai said. “Since we started it, it has grown. We travel to the Needham area, the Metrowest of Boston; now we’re in Boston, Cambridge and further north as well. We’re in Georgetown, Southern New Hampshire and now, Southern Maine.”

Those interested in receiving deliveries of this type pay a $40 fee each year to become members, and can then order pet food in bulk on the company website.

“Our minimum is to buy a case of meat, which is 30 pounds, and they can get it at a great price,” he said.

For more information on Raw To Go, visit http://www.rawtogopetfood.com

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