August 04, 2020

Maine business adopts `green’ cause for dogs> `Earth’s best friend’ gains popularity

PORTLAND — There may be no such thing as a green dog, but apparently there are plenty of green owners.

That’s good news for Planet Dog, an Old Port business still in its puppy stage that has begun to nibble out a niche in the nation’s $23 billion pet business by offering environmentally friendly dog products.

The company sells dog beds, leashes, bowls and other products made from materials such as recycled soda bottles, hemp and organic cotton. Its logo says, “Planet Dog, Earth’s Best Friend.”

The idea for the company arose a few years ago as Stew Maloney and Alex Fisher were brainstorming over a few beers. After a year and a half of product design and testing, they launched the Planet Dog line of products at a trade show 14 months ago.

At first, 25 retailers signed up to sell the items. The products are now available at close to 300 outlets from Maine to California and are expected to be in 800 to 1,000 stores by year’s end.

Revenues last year were roughly $100,000. This year, Maloney said, they are on track to top $500,000.

“We were expecting closer to 100 percent growth this year,” Maloney said in the company offices where the four resident Labrador retrievers outnumber the people. “We’ve been overwhelmed.”

Maloney, 35, grew up in Ohio and went to the University of Vermont, where he graduated in 1988. Fisher, 29, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from Hobart College in 1993 and received a master of fine arts degree from Bard College in 1996.

Fisher and Maloney believe Planet Dog will stand out from the competition because, they say, their company is the only one that makes a wide array of eco-friendly products and whose very mission is environmentally based.

Besides going after the dog lover, they are also trying to capture parts of the outdoors, gift and “green” markets.

“Money isn’t the only objective,” Fisher said. “It has to be fun, and it has to feel good. If you maintain that integrity, the money will follow.”

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