Veteran and women owned business, TurboPUP, has created a product many dog-loving Central Oregonians may see as revolutionary. The bacon or peanut-butter flavored meal replacement bars for your best friend will change how you travel in the backcountry, in the car or on a hunting trip.
Replacing the chore of packing out pounds of dog food for your adventures-on-the-go, is the TurboPUP bar. The size of an iPhone with protein and nutrients of a full meal, these bars will have your canine licking their chops for more.
“My dog, Dunkan goes everywhere with me, so I’m well acquainted with the frustrations of packing giant zip lock bags of dog food for him,” TurboPUP Founder and Owner Kristina Guerrero said.
“One day on a backcountry ski trip, Dunkan and I had gone about six miles up a mountain together. We stopped at the top but I didn’t pack food for him, so he ended up eating my burrito while I ate a power bar. That was the moment I was inspired to create TurboPUP. I wanted a healthy, premium and easy-to-pack meal to sustain his energy when traveling.”
Guerrero gained many of the skills she would need to found her company from her time serving in the U.S. Air Force. She served for over 12 years in active duty and in the reserves as a C130 pilot in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and on the Horn of Africa.
“All the military experience has prepared me to create a goal and execute it, and also how to be incredibly resourceful and use and rely on your team. I don’t think I would have nearly the amount of initiative had it not been for the military, and it help me become an entrepreneur,” she said.
Guerrero has been awarded several grants that have been foundational in getting the business off the ground. A $1,000 Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps Award in 2013 and a earlier this year a $25,000 award from Citi and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University helped her transition from making the bars at home to finding a large-scale manufacturer.
“Manufacturing on a mass level was incredibly difficult and that took about a year to figure out,” she explained. “We had about five trials, had to find a co-packer and we changed the way the bar was made. The original bar was bigger, now we have one and two packs; that change came from a lot of feedback people had for us like smaller bars for smaller dogs and now the bars are scored so you can easily break off smaller pieces.”
So what is in the TurboPUP bar? Guerrero uses all American sourced and human grade ingredients including chickpea flour, egg yolks, whey protein isolate, olive oil, natural flavors, pomegranate juice concentrate, chia seeds and less than one percent salt.
“Dogs metabolize fat and protein for energy, that’s why it’s high in fat. There is a lot of humanizing of dogs where we make assumptions for dogs based on what we know of human dietary needs,” she said.
The bars are grain-free and Guerrero especially wanted to create a bar that would not cause stomach issues when transitioning between their regular food and the TurboPUP bar. “I spent two years in research and development, the ingredients are all highly digestible, so there will be no shocks to the stomach, no dog yet has had diarrhea from one of the bars. They just love them.”
Guerrero has attributed a lot of her success to community support and surrounding herself with an excellent team. She has several brand ambassadors that regularly use TurboPUP in the backcountry and provide her with feedback and word-of-mouth marketing.
She recently attended the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, the biggest trade show for the outdoor industry, to gauge interest for new retailers and distributors around the country and the world. She was overwhelmed by the positive response to TurboPUP bars, and credits her other TurboPUP who went to the show with her, Odin, a playful puppy who has grown up on the bars.
“We are still finding our niche, but my favorite part is how much people want to help. I have had so much support from the community from mentors and coaches and everyone is so nice about it,” Guerrero said.
TurboPUP’s vision is to promote outdoor adventure with your dog, and to help people recognize that dogs need food in the backcountry just as much as you do.
CEO: Kristina Guerrero
No. Employees: 3
Year Established: 2012
Product/Service: Meal replacement bar for dogs
Hot News: Attended the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show and attracted a lot of interest from retailers, reps and distributors.
Outlook for Growth: Hot! The only meal replacement bar for dogs on the market