FurBaby Fresh of Hillsborough County
FurBaby Fresh was born out of necessity for Jay Goldstein. Twenty years ago, he wasn’t getting what he needed from his local veterinarian for his sick cat. He started doing research on his own and came across a homeopathic veterinarian’s book, which included raw recipes.
“I started feeding my cat that recipe and nursed the cat back to health,” he said. “After 20 years of making food for the animals, one day I was making food and I realized this could be a very viable business and so I looked up the SBDC and met with Mitch, and the rest is history.”
And so, FurBaby Fresh was born.
As a salesperson for two major corporations for the past 27 years, Goldstein knew how to sell but had never owned a business before. He reached out to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida for guidance with each step along the way to becoming a legal business.
“Mitch taught me a bunch of things – some of which I ignored and I’m realizing now further down the road those things are very important,” he said. The importance of a business plan and running numbers are just two things of that nature.
Mitch Lairmore, business consultant for the Florida SBDC at USF, also taught Goldstein how to use some of the resources that are available to business owners, such as QuickBooks and how to make purchases that would benefit the business because of a tax write-off.
Along the way to establishing FurBaby Fresh, Goldstein also had to contend with the Department of Agriculture. “There were a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said. “So, it’s grown very slowly but I am all compliant. I do have a Feed Master license from the Department of Ag. I did my labeling which meets their requirements.”
Goldstein has also done a beta test on the product while he builds his website, and all business licensing has been completed. All this has been done with Lairmore just a phone call or an email away.
“I’m really thankful that the SBDC is here because without it I’d be looking at YouTube videos or something like that,” Goldstein said, “and really be flying by the seat of my pants. Mitch answers his phone when I call. It’s just nice to have an open-door policy and have some place to go that I can lean on and ask the hard questions.”
FurBaby Fresh is close to sending its product to market so that it can start generating revenue, but Goldstein plans to keep the resources of the Florida SBDC at USF close at hand as he continues this entrepreneurial journey.