Jill Cherrier began her work in the pet food industry when she and her husband moved to Vancouver from Ontario in 1991. Having left a job in the corporate world, she was looking for something different and took a role at a local pet food company, where she worked in different managerial positions. It was her pet dalmatian, Joshua, whose emerging health issues led her into research about pet nutrition and towards a better understanding of the benefits of raw food for dogs and cats. “We just saw such incredible benefits and improvements in his health,” says Jill. “The lightbulb kind of went off that we needed to provide this service to other pet owners out there.” Having by this point worked for several years in the commercial side of the pet food industry, Jill had seen numerous clients whose pets had health issues that were not being resolved through veterinary medicine or the recommended diets. “So we took a leap of faith, found a location really quickly and started our store.” In The Raw opened its doors in 2000 and has since expanded to a larger location in North Vancouver. From the very beginning, their mission statement was clear. “We wanted to supply raw food and educate people about raw food, but we also wanted to be really strict about providing only Canadian options to people. We’re firm believers in buying local.”
In late 2013, Jill started seeing a pattern among customers who loved the concept of frozen raw foods, but being in BC, many needed an alternative option that they could take with them on camping weekends or to the cottage. “We started researching and trying to find a good quality dehydrated food that we could provide as an option when customers couldn’t use their frozen one.” It was in this research that they came across Smack Pet Food, and in 2014, the first shipment arrived at In The Raw - one of the very first stores to stock the product. “It was a win-win right away,” says Jill. “Once we really delved into more of what Smack Pet Food actually produces, it became very evident to us of the quality and the value of what they were bringing to the marketplace.”
For Jill, quality, locally-sourced ingredients are one of the most important things when it comes to pet nutrition - and Smack’s values and process was exactly what she was looking for. “They source amazing quality ingredients. It really is a superfood and a powerhouse of nutrients,” she says. “Their commitment to wholesome, holistic ingredients has made a huge difference, and the way that their foods are gently hydrated so they maintain optimal nutritional value is absolutely brilliant.” Having initially brought Smack in as a travel option, Jill quickly realized that it was a fully-functioning food, and it started to become a “full feeding model” for a lot of their clients. Smack’s variety of flavours and protein options was another big selling feature for Jill. “Promoting variety is the way that animals optimally get all their natural health,” Jill explains.
Empowering their customers to make the right decisions for their pets has always been a core value at In The Raw. “We not only sell raw food, we actually really advocate that people are doing it sensibly and smartly. We have an extensive educational process that we provide for free to our clients because we want people to feel empowered to be able to take that knowledge and to better their actual pets’ health.” After Josh, the inspiration for starting the business, passed away at 12 years old, Jill and her husband began adopting older animals, to give them a second chance at life through improved diet and nutrition. “You can absolutely make the switch and reignite everything that’s going on with them,” Jill says. “We’ve had a variety of four-legged critters that have come through our house and we’ve been able to provide them with optimal health, good exercise, and just a better overall quality of life.”
Read more at https://www.intherawpetfood.com/