Duck hearts, beef hearts, chicken hearts and oxtail may not sound all that appetizing to humans, but one area man has found that furry pets can’t get enough of these flavors.
A new downtown Waterloo business is sure to delight dogs and cats who enjoy a delicious treat. Bowowz, owned and operated by Kevin Driessen, moved to 112 E. Madison St. earlier this fall.
The Watertown resident had always wanted to own his own business and in 2017 his wife, Kate, encouraged Driessen to move forward to open a business.
“Trying to start a brand is really difficult but if you stay true to who you are and what your mission is, I think anything is possible,” Driessen said.
With the name of the business, a few thousand dollars and the inspiration of his family’s two dogs – Gizmo and Ryder, who are featured on the brand’s label – Driessen established Bowowz Oct. 17, 2017. He previously rented a small space in Watertown, where he lives, but needed a location with more space to create treats for four-legged pets.
He started by creating a few treat products; additionally, the business owner stopped at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to speak with a mentor about running the business.
“He told me, ‘Just go out there and start opening wholesale accounts,’” Driessen said.
That is precisely what he did. The first location to start buying products from him was in Sun Prairie where he made his first pitch.
Wholesale continues to be a staple for Bowowz. Many of the wholesale clientele are pet stores, doggy daycares, and animal groomers in five states. Driessen also sells the dog treats online.
None of the products are sold until getting the paws of approval from Driessen’s dogs and pets owned by friends.
“Looking into the pet industry, it’s a lot about love,” he said.
Driessen previously worked in the meat industry for 22 years taking on multiple roles “pretty much everywhere. The meat industry is tough, it’s really hard work, but I love the customer interaction and working the retail setting.”
In the future, Driessen would like to have a retail business where he can sell Bowowz products.
“I have no regrets,” the Watertown man said. “I will be happy whether I succeed or fail.”