Started as a solution for her picky dog, Me-Gi’s Dog Bakery now provides homemade dog food to a growing canine following
By Shane Snider | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Melissa Long’s side hustle was born out of a need to nourish her Peekapoo dog, Ginger – a finicky eater who just wasn’t keen on store-bought brands. The Chapel Hill resident used downtime during the pandemic to launch her business.
Melissa, a study site specialist at a clinical research firm, now spends her free time crafting dog food and treats. Armed with a pressure cooker and fresh ingredients, she has gained a small but loyal canine following. While Melissa only has about 10 clients right now, she’s happy with the progress and hopes to grow with word-of-mouth marketing.
Tell us how you started the business and how it’s going.
“I started the business during COVID-19. My dog, Ginger, who is 13, she’s such a picky eater. I’ve tried every kind of dog food you can imagine. She wasn’t really happy about the kibble I was giving her – and I found one brand she liked, but it was expensive. So I looked at the ingredients and said, ‘I can make this.’ That’s when I decided to start making it, and Ginger loved it. So I gave some samples to my neighbors, and their dogs loved it. And I said, ‘Why don’t I just go into business.’ I started giving samples to local shelters – that’s how it got started.”
What has starting a business meant for you? Do you plan on transitioning to a full-time business owner?
“It’s not really huge right now. My plan is to grow, and I’m not giving up on it. It’s like my little side hustle, and it’s become my passion. I love it. I love making the treats, and I just get excited seeing the dogs’ faces when they enjoy the food. If I become a millionaire overnight, sure.”
How did you decide on ingredients, and what do you think the future holds for Me-Gi’s?
“Ginger’s been eating the food for two years, and I haven’t changed anything. We don’t use any ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s all-natural food and something I would eat myself. As far as the future, I have this vision that this will be big. There’s a lot of competition out here with dog food. This is really all about Ginger … Me-Gi’s is the first two letters of my name and the first two letters of hers. I think it has a ring to it.”