If you’ve driven down Galvin Road in Centralia with your window down, it’s possible you have smelled yummy mint or your grandmother’s molasses crinkles cookies as you pass through the Port of Centralia’s Park I development. It’s enough to make you stop and hound around for the source of the appetizing scent. But it’s not a bakery that’s producing the wonderful aroma: it’s 4Legz All Natural Dog Treats and those smells are coming from the delicious dog cookies they bake right here in Lewis County.
It all started 10 years ago when John and Cynthia Murray received a Fox Terrier mix named Odie as a hearing dog for Cynthia, who was born deaf. Odie had been placed with two other people previously. Originally from Oregon, Odie developed sensitivities and allergies while living with his second owner in Texas and had to be brought back. Cynthia was the perfect partner since she lived in the Pacific Northwest as well. Because of his allergies, they had a hard time finding treats he could eat, so they decided to make their own.
And 4Legz All Natural Dog Treats was born.
As former members of the Washington Agriculture Board, Cynthia and John knew from the very beginning they wanted to be different from other dog treat companies. For starters, they source all of their human-grade ingredients as locally as possible. The treats contain no artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, additives, corn, sugar, animal by-products or preservatives. Many of their ingredients are organic and their treats are certified non-GMO with the Non-GMO Project. This is an involved verification process and they are audited annually to make sure they are still compliant.
“We got our Non-GMO certification four years ago,” says Cynthia. “We were the first full line of dog treats to have it. It was important to us to be the best we could be, for the health of the dogs enjoying them.”
Every one of their flavors was created under the advisement of a local veterinarian to be sure they were safe and healthy for dogs. They currently make six flavors of dog treats: Kitty Roca (their original flavor that makes a great gift for a dog lover with a sense of humor), Dognutz, Ode 2 Odie, Organic Pumpkin, Organic Sweet Potato and Chehalis Mint.
The Chehalis Mint treats are made from mint grown in Idaho and processed right here at Callison’s in Chehalis. These treats smell delicious and contain only healthy ingredients: organic rye flour, organic rolled oats, canola oil, mint oil, cut & sifted rosemary and ground ginger.
But if you smell molasses, then the Murrays are probably baking up a batch of their Dognutz, which smell just like grandmother’s molasses crinkles cookies.
Moving to the Port of Centralia Allowed 4Legz to Expand
4Legz started out as a home-based business for Cynthia and John. But baking inside a small 10×20-feet attached garage limited how many treats they could bake. This August marked their second anniversary at the Port of Centralia. While it took them a while to find a place to house their business, John and Cynthia are extremely happy with how it all worked out.
“It was really hard to find a place,” says Cynthia. “In order to get good pricing on shipping, we ship on pallets and in order to get the best deal, we needed a loading dock. There are not a lot of facilities in Lewis County with loading docks.”
The pair looked at several places, even travelling north to Thurston County, but they found nothing. Then their real estate agent suggested the Port of Centralia.
“We are super happy to be here, they bent over backwards to get us in here,” explains John. “Originally there was a tenant in this space but it was too big for them and they didn’t need the loading dock. So the Port asked them if they would mind moving to the smaller vacant space. They agreed. It worked out wonderfully.”
The couple had also thought about buying, but decided that leasing was a smarter business decision. “If you outgrow, it’s much easier to expand with a lease,” Cynthia explains. “You don’t have to worry about selling a building. And the Port will actually help us expand – whether that’s picking another location or adding on to this one.”
They also liked that leasing meant all they had to do was focus on what’s inside the building: their company. The Port of Centralia takes care of the exterior, including ground maintenance, ensuring trucks have access, clearing snow and ice in the winter, and any other thing that pops up. “One day we noticed that someone had spray painted our back wall,” John says. “By the end of the day, the Port had repainted it. They are really good about quickly taking care of things.”
Being able to focus on growing their business really did work. 4Legz has expanded into the bulk section of all the Mud Bay pet stores, where they sell roughly 5,000 pounds of their treats a month. They are also available at many independent stores. Locally, you can find them at Tower Trading Company and Mary’s All Breed Grooming. 4Legz also makes private-label treats for people all over the world, including companies in California and Sweden. They even had someone order a large batch of treats to China.