Brooklyn Park Dog Treat Business Takes Off at State Fair
Reggie Carter loves the Minnesota State Fair. He counts among his favorite fair foods The Mouth Trap Cheese Curds, Sweet Martha’s cookies and chicken on a stick.
This is the second year of the fair that Carter and his wife, Susan, of Brooklyn Park, have worked at their Must Be Ruff dog treat booth in the Pet Pavilion on the far northern end of the fairgrounds.
“It was a little overwhelming, first year at the fair, not knowing what to expect,” said Carter. “I looked at the numbers from last year, the peak times, how many people I would need at certain times throughout the day, obviously the weekends are busier. Oh yeah, I learned a lot.”
Also this year, Must Be Ruff is featured with a coupon in the fair’s Blue Ribbon Bargain Book.
“We get a lot of repeat buyers, which is awesome, because the people are what determines the success of your company,” said Carter, who has also done several media appearances at the fair.
Must Be Ruff was born out of creativity at the end of the pandemic. Carter, a former maintenance work with MnDOT, said he wanted to focus on how to make pet treats that tasted good and were good for pets. His creations are perishable items made with flour, yogurt, honey, bacon, and other ingredients free of preservatives or sugar.
But, Carter said it was just as important to him to create something lasting for him and his family.
“My two sons are 8 years old and 9 years old. I want to build some things for [them]. Let them see the entrepreneur and business side of things, things I didn’t see growing up,” he said.
The business does pop-up events at local breweries and even has a presence at Target Field for Twins games. But Carter wants to bring more customers in by the unique opportunity the fair offers.
“We build those relationships with our customers, and we talk to everyone,” he said. “It’s not just a you buy it and ‘bye.’ We really love interacting with the people,” he said.