Hudson Valley Magazine Writes ‘Three Cheers for These Three Local Do-Gooder Businesses’
Three local companies make a positive impact on the community.
By David Levine, Hudson Valley Magazine – It’s easy to admire an entrepreneur who takes a small idea and nourishes it into a full-fledged company. It’s even easier to admire that go-getter when his or her business benefits society. Here, we chat with the owners of three local companies who are striving to both make money and a difference. […]
People who know Vicki Sylvester know one thing in particular about her. “I love dogs,” she says. “Everyone thinks of me as, ‘Vicki and her dogs.’”
Sylvester’s other passion is helping the developmentally disabled. She has worked for 33 for Community Based Services (CBS), a North Salem-based not-for-profit organization that provides care for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, and now she is its CEO. About two years ago, those two interests came together in a new company, Good Reasons, which employs disabled adults to make dog treats, with all profits going back to support CBS.
At the time, New York State was trying to find a way to get more people with disabilities into the workforce, she says. “Obviously that’s not easy, especially in a rough economy with a high unemployment rate. These people are not high on the hiring list.”
With three dogs of her own, she also knew that the pet industry is enormous. “I thought we could get in on that business, and just said, ‘let’s do dog treats,’” she recalls. “That’s how it was born.”
It was initially called Three Brown Dogs Barkery, for Sylvester’s three Springer Spaniels and C-suite members: Gracie, CEO (chief eating officer); Tucker, COO (chief “odorable” officer); and Hudson, CFO (chief finicky officer). She wanted to make all-natural, human-grade products, so she hired Allan Katz, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and former executive chef and owner of Allyns. They opened this past July, but changed the name because, “We are giving you ‘good reasons’ to buy our treats.”
The company currently has five disabled employees working in production and packaging. As it grows, more will be added. They produce six different products, including Hudson’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pieces, Charlie’s Cheddar Chomps, and Tucker’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey. “My dogs got fat from trying all the samples,” Sylvester says.
The treats are available at numerous locations, including Adams Fairacre Farms, Williams Lumber, some veterinarians and dog groomers, and many others throughout Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester. You can find a list of them all — or order directly — at their website, www.goodreasons.com.
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