May 03, 2016 - 8:00am

DREAM BIG 2016: By Feeding a Need, Business Found the Recipe


Communications Intern

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Scratch and Peck Feeds employs about 20 full-time staff to produce certified organic and non-GMO verified poultry and livestock feeds.

Northwest Regional Finalist

Scratch and Peck Feeds
Bellingham, Washington
Diana Ambauen-Meade, President

 

 

 

Editor's note: The DREAM BIG award, sponsored by Sam’s Club®, celebrates the success of small businesses and honors their contributions to America's economic growth. The Small Business of the Year, seven regional finalists, and 100 Blue Ribbon winners will be honored on June 14 during America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.

Scratch and Peck Feeds employs about 20 full-time staff to produce certified organic and non-GMO verified poultry and livestock feeds.

How did the company get started?

 

Diana Ambauen-Meade’s father instilled in her an entrepreneurial spirit, and she grew up valuing risk taking and inquisitiveness. Therefore, when she faced a shortage of organic natural feed for her backyard chickens, Diana relied on that mind-set to turn her problem into a profitable solution.

She started making her own feed, mixing various whole grains to create the right blend for her hens. Subsequently, Diana’s friends asked if she would make feed for their animals as well. Diana began making large batches in a borrowed cement mixer and sold the feed to her neighbors and fellow chicken owners. A new business was off and running. Scratch and Peck Feeds was officially launched in 2009.

“Despite the unknown outcome, I worked to create the very product I found lacking on store shelves,” Diana says. “I believed others might be looking for the same thing, and I was right!”

The company began working with a mill in Oregon to produce the mixture, and word of mouth and posts on Craigslist triggered sales of more than 5 tons a month.

After a year, Diana wanted to source her ingredients closer to home and cut transportation costs, so she built her own feed mill.

“With a background as a mortgage banker and having previously operated a bookstore in California, I was no stranger to the business world,” she says.

“As a startup company, being an early adopter is built into the fabric of our organization. We don’t wait for customers to demand something; rather, we try and stay ahead of trends with how we source ingredients and the types of products we offer.”                                                                           Diana Ambauen-Meade

What is Scratch and Peck’s role in community involvement?

In addition to monetary donations, Scratch and Peck works with the local Humane Society to offer chicken care classes and donate animal feed to the society’s farm. The company also works with many area farmers and the local farmers market to source the grains it uses in its products.

“Building strong ties with our local community has been core to our business values since our inception,” according to Diana.

Scratch and Peck organizes and sponsors the annual Great Chicken Race, which brings the neighborhood together. The race features an obstacle course for chickens and their owners, a talent show, and an art gallery for kids. The company also donates feed to a local goat sanctuary and contributes to school and athletic fundraising efforts.

What’s in store for the future?

Scratch and Peck plans to purchase land and build a new facility for increased grain storage and production capacity. It also plans to boost its outreach with the Department of Agriculture to advocate for more organic and non-GMO producers in the United States. Long term, Scratch and Peck hopes to build a mill on the East Coast to meet the high demand for organic feed and contribute to the area’s economic development.

About the Author

About the Author

Communications Intern