By Sarah Lysne, The Post-Bulletin, Austin MN
For anyone who has a dog in the Austin area, Pam Miller may be a household name.
Miller owned and operated the Bone Appetit Canine Bakery on Fourth Street Northwest in Austin. A few years ago, she closed her business here and moved the bakery to another retail location in the Rochester area.
Now, those dog treats are back, served out of a van equipped to serve as a mobile store.
In April, Miller purchased a van and decided to go “mobile” with her business, and Bone Appetit Canine Bakery Unleashed was born.
Miller uses her website, Facebook and Twitter to let customers know where she will be each week. Her mobile store carries many of the same items she carried at her retail store in Austin, and on a recent visit to the Horace Austin Park in Austin, long-time customers gathered around the van to view some of the merchandise Miller had available.
Customers can walk up to the side of the van, where they will find a counter and a hanging display of a wide variety of merchandise for dogs and their owners.
“Right now, we carry T-shirts and apparel for our people customers and other gifts including candy, Miller said. “For the dogs, we carry quality products like the Neo collars, West Paw dog toys and unique leashes. One of our leashes is called a cujo leash and has a handle that looks like a water ski handle.”
Miller helps customers find the perfect product for their pets. She might help a customer find the right style dog harness and demonstrate its use. Miller carries a harness that also serves as a seat belt for a dog. “The harness seat belt saved the life of my dog, Scout, at one time. Without it, he would have gone through the windshield,” said Miller.
Customers also will find their dogs’ favorite fresh-baked treats, with four varieties to choose from.
“Another fun dog treat for a birthday is the Happy Bark Day cake mix,” Miller said. “The mix is made with carob instead of chocolate so your dog can enjoy a piece of their very own birthday cake.”
She is grateful that she had an idea 14 years ago to provide freshly baked treats for all her friends and family members to give to their dogs. She never thought that it would turn into a business, but she is glad that it did and that it’s lasted this long.
“The best part of this mobile business is getting a chance to see previous customers and their dogs. Being in this business brings me so much joy,” said Miller.
Sarah Lysne is a freelance writer in Austin.