Local canine bakery business turns to Kickstarter


BENNINGTON -- Stacey Rossi is planning to relocate to Bennington; To promote her small business idea and her Kickstarter campaign, for "General Jack's Barkery," she gave people an idea of what she had to offer at the Walloomsac Farmers' Market on Saturday.

"Everyone here is very nice: It's a really nice community," Rossi said. "It's a small town so these connections are going to be very important."

Rossi has been a self-practicing attorney in the Berkshires and has worked with non-legal compliance regulations in the New York capital region and vermont for several years. In her spare time, Rossi was a volunteer dog walker and foster care taker for the Friends of Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield, Mass., and was eventually voted onto the board of directors.

As a hobby chef and baker who grows and makes most of her own food from scratch, Rossi began making most of the food for dogs she cared for as well. Many of the dogs she fostered had dietary restrictions and other health issues. She said that often making them bowls of rice, chicken and vegetables was the only way to get them to eat.

Rossi recently adopted a dog to call her own, General Jack.

"I found that I really liked (cooking for the dogs): Just like I like cooking for people," Rossi said. "When I met Jack, he has food sensitivities too, and started baking him the equivalent of brownies: Dog biscuits baked like snack bars."

Now making oat and wheat snacks flavored with peanut butter and bacon, chicken, fish or beef, Rossi hopes to make a small business out of something she is passionate about.

Rossi is moving to Bennington for family-related matters and will not be able to move her law legal practice across state borders. She said that her experience in law will give her a good background to make her way into a startup.

To put herself on her way, Rossi created an online kickstarter campaign, in which people are able to pledge money toward a startup idea they appreciate. Rossi's campaign has set the goal of $1,500, of which a little over $600 has been pledged. If interest dies out and the campaign has not met its goal, Rossi will have to start over and those who pledged money will not have to follow through.

Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments, for which someone must have an Amazon account to pledge money. The minimum pledge is one dollar.

Kickstarter projects are often incentivised with tangible rewards or special experiences for those who submit pledges. Rossi is giving away branded t-shirts to everyone who pledges over a certain hidden amount.

Rossi has already started branding and marketing an image and draft label for her dog biscuits. If she obtains the necessary startup goal. Rossi said she would continue going to the Walloomsac Farmers' Market and seek out local pet stores to sell her product.

From there, Rossi said she would seek out the legal channels to meet FDA and USDA regulations contingent on her success. With national agency approval, she would be able to sell products online and across state borders.

Find information about Rossi's Kickstarter campaign or pledge money at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/101614251/general-jacks-barkery-kick-off.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg


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