Heidi Vanorse Neal loves animals, and it’s very clear to see that’s where the inspiration for her business, Loyal Biscuit Co., comes from. Opening their doors in 2010 at their first storefront in Rockland, Loyal Biscuit, by which we mean Heidi as the only employee at the time, began offering customers a place where they could be sure their pets would be treated like a part of the family.
All the hard work that Heidi put into making the company’s focus a truly welcoming and friendly atmosphere quickly paid off. Working with David Hill of the Small Business Development Center, Heidi began planning for expansion, and in 2011 Loyal Biscuit opened a second location in Belfast and hired two employees. Then, in 2012, a third location was added in Camden, and more employees joined Loyal Biscuit. Most recently, in 2014, Heidi opened her first store outside the midcoast, in Waterville. To date, Loyal Biscuit Co. has created 11 jobs, and that number may grow as the company’s growth continues.
Beyond Loyal Biscuit Co., Heidi also runs two separate businesses that complement the stores. Tug ME Toys produces pull toys for dogs that are made by hand in Maine, and Fidelis Biscuit Co. produces healthy, organic treats for pets.
In addition to the ways that Loyal Biscuit Co. has improved the lives of pets and their owners through their products, Heidi goes out of her way to do more. Three of Loyal Biscuit’s locations serve as satellite locations for local animal shelters’ pet adoptions, helping find homes for over 200 cats and kittens in the last 2 ½ years. Heidi also organizes three “Pints for Paws” fundraisers annually to raise funds for the shelters, which combined with several other fundraisers, have raised over $40,000 to date.
With all the wonderful things going on at Loyal Biscuit Co., it’s no wonder in addition to being recognized as the Maine SBA Small Business Person of the Year Heidi’s business has been recognized by local chambers, statewide competitions, and national publications like Pet Age Magazine and Pet Product News International. Heidi Neal truly represents the best of small business owners in Maine and provides a shining example to aspiring entrepreneurs.