Mud River Has Dogs Covered

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 296 views 

Mud River Dogs Products Inc. is a puppy that’s about to get a much louder bark.
The Farmington company has sold 350 of its dog kennel covers, but is about to ship 2,500 to the Sportsman’s Warehouse distribution center in Salt Lake City to be sold nationally.
The 100 percent weather proof covers are made of a Cordura-type material and come from China via a freight forwarder in Los Angeles. The covers retail between $139 and $149 at Springdale’s Southtown Sporting Goods and Outdoor America stores.
“There are only two manufacturers of dog kennel covers in the U.S., so there’s a niche,” said Brad Griggs, owner of Mud River Dog Products.
In 2007, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates $40.8 billion will be spent on pets in the U.S. That’s up from $38.5 million in 2006 and nearly double the $21 million spent on pets in 1996. Of the 2007 projection, $9.9 million is slated for over-the-counter medicines and supplies, such as Mud River’s kennel covers.
Griggs and his brother, Bryan Griggs, came up with the idea during a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota two years ago. A winter-storm rolled through while they were driving with their dogs in the back of the truck.
All that protected the highly-trained and well-loved canines, Dixie and Bell, were the only available dog kennel covers on the market.
“There was not enough protection with the wild chill factor that comes with driving 70 MPH,” Brad Griggs said. “Some people have $10,000 tied up in their dogs, but my biggest thing is I have a passion for taking care of bird dogs.”
The product was designed with dog and owner in mind. Bryan Griggs, who designed fish and tackle bags for Field & Stream, athletic gear for Nike and now works for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., sent drawings with dimensions back and forth between China several times before picking the perfect cover.
Two double-stitched handles are on top of the insulated covers for easy handling of the bulky kennels, even with large dogs inside. There are rubber mesh windows on both sides with removable flaps attached by Velcro that allow wind to be evenly dispersed. Other features include tie-down rings for maximum security, plenty of pockets for storage and a rubber non-skid protective bottom.
“The dog products industry is extremely hot right now and this is a smart product for dog lovers,” Brad Griggs said. “We’re trying to get it into other stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops and we’re also working with a broker in Little Rock to market it to independently-owned stores that are established in the sportsmen community.”
Griggs keeps inventory locked up in a large barn beside his home and said he’s hiring a truck to take the company’s first major shipment to Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Most of the sales so far have come from the company’s Web site to mostly duck hunting dog owners in eastern Arkansas or other bird dog owners across the Midwest. The partners also sold 120 at a convention in Des Moines, Iowa.