LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A local couple is reinventing themselves by turning their passion for healthy pets, into healthy pet foods and other products. John Fellows and Mary Lynne Bianchi lost big-paying jobs in the recession, and found a new field.
"Welcome to the intergalactic headquarters of the Petmopolitan Pet Food company," said Fellows, as he shows a visitor the garage of his home in northeast Cape Coral.
"This is where we make the pet food from the best ingredients: free range cattle and salmon from the North Atlantic. This is food that will ensure a healthy life for dogs and cats. We also use elk antlers from the Rocky Mountains for dog chews. They have minerals the dogs need, and the antlers just fall off the male elk after rutting season. These chews are so much better than the usual rubber or rawhide chews," said Fellows.
He used to be a flight instructor and he sold million-dollar airplanes to wealthy people. The recession wiped out that business.
Mary Lynne Bianchi used to work for corporations and made well over $100,000 a year. Her job also vanished in the bust.
Both decided to try super-premium pet food. They sell at farmers markets and through the internet to customers in 28 states. They are finding success and at least enough profit to stay afloat.
"It was a very difficult transition. I was devastated emotionally, quite frankly," says Fellows of the bad times. "But now I am positive and passionate about helping dogs and cats have better lives, healthier lives. I feel good about where we are going."
Bianchi said, "Going from 'corporate girl' making really good money and regular paychecks, to zero, was tough. That is hard to deal with. But you have to reinvent yourself in this economy. You walk through the fear every day. But we are going to make it. I get through the fear with faith."
Petmopolitan has been so successful that the founders now are looking for a warehouse, so they can move production out of their garage.