J Nicolay Bakery
By Enjoy Magazine
What's in Store
Story by J Nicolay Bakery
Enjoy: Tell us about your products.
JANELLE: We offer all-natural dog treats in nine different flavors and two sizes. We have tiny training treats that are a half-inch, and regular treats that are one inch.
Enjoy: When did you become interested in owning a bakery?
JANELLE: I’ve always been a baker. In 2004, I baked for Andrea (Charroin) at Rene-Joule Patisserie. I loved it, and 10 years later, I decided I wanted to open my own bakery.
Enjoy: What made you decide to stop selling “people food” in your bakery and focus your business on dog treats?
JANELLE: The animal business is a huge market. My biggest reason was that when I owned a regular bakery, I was away from home for so long – I wanted to be able to spend more time with my dogs, and when you have a restaurant, you can’t take them with you.
Enjoy: What do people enjoy most about your products?
JANELLE: They’re made from human-grade ingredients, so they’re healthy and wheat-free. People love when they open a bag of treats, it reminds them of a bakery because of the familiar smells. The peanut butter treats smell like the cookies I used to make. In the first year, I baked my own products. Now I have hired a co-packer, an all-natural company that bakes our recipe for us. The products go into our warehouse, and we bag, seal and distribute them.
Enjoy: It sounds like your business is really growing.
JANELLE: It has grown a lot. I’ve kept it a word-of-mouth business, but we’re working to build up our auto-ship, where customers automatically get a shipment on the 15th of the month. I love getting texts that say, “I think my Lucy feels like blueberries this month.” It’s really fun. We deliver free in Redding and ship all over the United States for $5. In the spring, I plan on getting into more retail stores.
Enjoy: Tell us about your four-legged family members.
JANELLE: I have four dogs. Bear is a stray that showed up at my house a year ago. I think he knew we were the dog treat people. He’s older and well behaved, and he comes with me to work every day. Then I have a yellow lab named Jordy, whose picture is on the front of all my bags. We call him the taste tester. He loves them all. Jury is a hound and is our very picky eater. She especially loves the fruit and veggie treats, like apple, sweet potato and pumpkin. Then there’s Jewell, our 7-year-old-lab, who has some health problems.
Enjoy: Why is it important to feed our pets all-natural treats?
JANELLE: The fewer ingredients we use for ourselves or our dogs, the better. I like to know that if I’m giving it to my dog, it’s something I would eat and feel good about.
Enjoy: What’s the most fun part of your job?
JANELLE: A few days after our auto-ship, we get so many photos of dogs doing tricks for their treats, or lying next to a bag of treats. Really getting to know these dogs is fun. Our motto is “only the best for our best friends” – it really describes our business. •