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All for the Love of a Dog Named Marty

Photograph of Sandra Bosben, President of Marty's Meals, Inc.

Marty’s Meals, Inc. was established by Sandra Bosben, who adopted Marty, a six-month old Rottweiler mix with a lot of health issues.  Sandra fed Marty the most nutritious food available and administered all of the medications prescribed by his vet. By the time he was four, he had major surgery for joint failure. Although the surgery seemed to help, he did not recover as well as was hoped for his age. As Sandra researched ways to rehab Marty, she met an animal bodywork specialist who, in turn, introduced her to a renowned animal nutritionist. Together, they developed a couple of simple recipes for Marty.  This was the beginning of Sandra’s journey learning about pet nutrition and wellness in her own kitchen.

By 2010, Sandra was cooking up small batches of dog food for Marty and pets of family and friends.  She saw a marked improvement in Marty’s health and positive results in the other dogs.                                     

When Sandra’s previous employment fell to the economic downturn, she decided to seek guidance to launch her concept of a pet food company.  Sandra found Santa Fe Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Advisor, Debbie Collins at a social event. After their first meeting, Ms. Collins provided her with a thorough market study of her industry.  Together with her SBDC advisor, the Northern New Mexico Connect program, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert at the Taos Kitchen, Sandra was able to research her market more fully and get FDA approval. She officially launched the company that October.

Sandra quickly saw the limitations of cooking the food at home when Marty’s Meals food became popular among friends who saw the noticeable improvements in Marty’s mobility and vitality.  Subsequently, Sandra began selling and delivering her dog food to those clients wanting the same benefits for their own pets. She moved from her home kitchen and rented facilities from two local restaurants after hours to make the pet food.  By 2012, she could not keep up with demand. It was Sandra’s original plan to eventually have her own manufacturing and retail location.  She began a second business plan in support of a request to finance this phase.  Sandra’s vision for the shop and kitchen would allow her to buy ingredients in greater quantities and stabilize her pricing. She wanted a kitchen built to her specifications, as well as a community room where local animal experts could conduct workshops. Sandra also wanted to support local rescue organizations by hosting fundraisers, in addition to the regular donations of food she was already making.  To date Sandra has raised $3,500 in cash donations going to no-kill shelters. She has also contributed $15,000 in pet food donations in the past two years to humane societies and other rescue shelters.

Debbie Collins and Sandra’s advisory team helped her prepare a loan package to submit to The Loan Fund (SBA Microlender) where she secured $50,000 in financing.  Debbie and the SBDC have also assisted Sandra in employee matters, marketing, logistics and insurance.  Marty’s Meals celebrated the grand opening of its shop on Pen Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico in October 2013. Completing its second full year of operation, the shop has more than tripled the company’s 2012 sales and is on track to make $560,000 in sales for 2015.

When Sandra has decided to expand into the Boulder, Colorado area, Debbie Collins connected her with the SBDC there.  Sandra has worked with Debbie for five years and continues to meet with her two to three times per month.

In August of 2015, she received an SBA Guaranteed Loan of $58,000.  She used the loan for equipment and tenant improvements for the new Marty’s Meals retail store in Boulder that opened in November of 2015. 

Marty’s Meals has created jobs for 7 people and improved the wellness of countless animals in Northern New Mexico.  These accomplishments were recognized when the company received the Northern New Mexico 20/20 award in early 2015.

Sadly, Marty has now passed, but not before exceeding his life expectancy by seven years.  A small business was created all for the love of a dog named Marty.

Company Name: 
Marty's Meals, Inc.
Location: 
Santa Fe, NM