Cindy Dunston Quirk’s company began with a German Shepherd who had allergies. Her latest accomplishment is landing on Entrepreneur magazine’s list of best entrepreneurial companies in America.
In February of 2010, Cindy couldn’t find any treats for her beloved dog Zoe. She shared her struggle with her veterinarian, and he challenged her to find the solution herself. Cindy was in between work engagements, so she accepted the challenge. She discovered that elk antlers did not irritate Zoe, and within two weeks Cindy founded Scout & Zoe’s and branded, packaged, and brought to market elk antler dog treats.
“I brought this to Indiana,” Cindy stated. “My dogs are my children, so it makes it sweeter to be able to give Zoe something she needed.”
Along the way, Business Advisor Tom Steiner of the East Central ISBDC served as an important strategic partner. When she realized her website wasn’t getting the traffic it should, Cindy found the ISBDC and connected with Tom.
“He helped me get everything straight to pitch to banks, helped me check my logic and find errors I may have missed,” Cindy said. “He’s one of those people I clicked with immediately. We’ve been close friends since.”
As Scout & Zoe’s evolved, the company added additional treats such as chicken jerky, exotic protein treats, and bakery items. Revenues more than doubled in the past year as Cindy diversified the company’s product lines and fostered connections on the manufacturing side of the business.
Cindy applied for Entrepreneur magazine’s Top 360 Entrepreneurial Companies and then forgot about the award application. It wasn’t until she received an e-mail in August that the award came back to her attention. When Inside Indiana Business reported the news, she started receiving congratulatory messages from friends around the state. Scout & Zoe’s was one of three Indiana companies and one of three pet companies named in the list. This isn’t Cindy’s first award for her company. The ISBDC named her as an Indiana Entrepreneurship Award winner earlier in the company’s history.
Cindy continues to grow her business. She looks for ways to stay ahead of trends and discover new possibilities for her company.
“I really love the development side of business,” Cindy shared. “It’s a delicate balancing act… a tightwire act every day.”