With the support of local government investments, Santa Fe pet food company Marty's Meals is opening a new location this week, less than half a mile from its first storefront on Pen Road. The new 8,000-square-foot facility includes a retail store and an expanded commercial kitchen and bakery.
Marty's Meals dog and cat food recipes, which are designed to mimic the diets animals would get in the wild, are a mix of poultry or grass-fed meat with vegetables, sprouted grains and added nutrients like fish oil and kelp. The company also sells pet treats and raw bones and, soon, other pet products such as toys and beds. According to founder Sandy Bosben, Marty's Meals strives to source its products locally whenever possible, both to reduce its ecological footprint and to support New Mexico's economy.
"Every decision I make considers the welfare of our pets, our planet, ourselves and, of course, our profit, to continue doing what we're doing and to pay our employees and provide jobs," Bosben tells SFR.
Bosben founded Marty's Meals in 2013 and named the business for her dog Marty, who suffered from serious joint and arthritis issues before she switched his diet from kibble and chicken to homemade recipes using the wisdom of various animal experts and nutritionists. Marty lived to 16—six years longer than the average rottweiler.
"Number one in the mission is to provide the healthiest nutrition for animals so they have the best quality and the longest life possible. And this is as high-quality, human-grade food as you would find at the co-op, and the same kinds of suppliers," Michelle Mosser tells SFR. Mosser works for Brand Nature, which provides design and communications support to Marty's Meals. "But [the mission] is also to grow and support our neighbors in New Mexico as much as possible."
Marty's Meals is receiving a $175,000 investment from the State of New Mexico to support its expansion. Pending also is a $50,000 investment, sponsored by city councilors Signe Lindell and Michael Harris, from the City of Santa Fe through the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA). Past companies to receive LEDA support include Meow Wolf, Second Street Brewery and Descartes Labs. According to the city Economic Development Department, the city and state investments will generate nearly $4.7 million in economic impact. The project will also reportedly create 11 new jobs with an average wage of $13 per hour, as well as an estimated five construction jobs and $196,871 in construction payroll.
"Businesses like Marty's Meals help increase economic diversification and wealth in Santa Fe," Elizabeth Camacho, city economic development and communications administrator tells SFR. "Her success is, as they say, 'a tide that lifts all boats.'"
Marty's Meals' beef, lamb and bison are grass-fed and pasture-raised in New Mexico. New Mexican ranchers currently provide Marty's Meals with $148,000 per year of raw materials, a number projected to grow to $455,000 in five years, according to city stats.
"[Bosben] cannot source everything locally," Mosser says, "nor can the co-op or Verde or a lot of stores in town. Whenever she can get it in New Mexico she does, and then the next furthest distance is usually Colorado. They have a little more fertile growing season with vegetables."
Marty's Meals has one other location in Boulder, Colorado, and in addition to its expansion in Santa Fe, the company plans to soon open an online store.
"We already have customers out of state, and we ship," Bosben says. "Once our online sale structure is fully complete, I think it'll make a really big difference to New Mexico."
Bosben recognizes that, for some, the cost of switching from kibble to natural pet food recipes is significant, but she says it's worth it. She provides do-it-yourself recipes and free consultations to discuss customers' budgets and pet nutrition plans.
"Cost is relative," she posits. "Over time, you're spending a little bit more on food but you're spending a lot less money on veterinary bills, whether it's for dental health or overall health. The average lifespan is three years longer on a natural diet. None of us are designed to eat processed food. Kibble is 40 to 50 percent carbohydrates, and dogs can process 8 to 10 percent. Our products are about 5 percent on average."
Bosben credits the success of her company to a growing awareness about the importance of food choice for both people and animals.
"I think what's happening is that as people become more and more aware of a healthy diet for themselves, that translates to their pets," she says. "They understand that the same things are important.
The new location opens this week, and a bigger, dog-friendly community event featuring animal experts, nutritionists and food tastings, happens on Jan. 12.
Marty's Meals Ribbon Cutting
11 am Friday Dec. 14. Free.
506 W Cordova Road,