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‘A Really Big Day’

Business celebrates 20th anniversary

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Targeted Pet Treats Chief Commercial Officer Kristi Ross talks to a group of employees Thursday outside the 151 Struthers Street facility during an employee appreciation and product launch party.

Targeted Pet Treats was all set to celebrate its 20th anniversary last year.

With COVID-19 restrictions, the timing wasn’t right so the company pushed the celebration back a year.

As it turns out, that coincides perfectly with a major event in the company’s history. On Thursday and Friday, the company celebrated an employee appreciation and product launch party at the company’s Struthers Street location.

Everyone came out for games, food by Blueberry Hill Golf Course of Russell, and ice cream from Taylor’s Treats of North Warren.

“We couldn’t get together last year,” President Greg Austin said. “2020 was a tough year.”

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Melissa Almendinger of Targeted Pet Treats with Kara, a 14-week-old jug (Jack Russell-pug mix), check out a display of new products during a TPT employee appreciation and product launch party on Thursday.

He thanked the employees for their efforts as the company stayed open throughout the pandemic. “Thank you for complying (with masking, distancing, and other guidelines),” he said. “We appreciate that. There’s more to come. COVID-19 is still a real thing. We’re working with the state, the CDC, and OSHA.”

But, Thursday was a day to celebrate.

Right off the bat, Katie Nelson’s name was drawn for a chance to spin a prize wheel — and she won $100 cash.

On display were two new products — not new to the employees, but new to consumers — Andy & Audie and Chewsday.

They represent a new era for Targeted.

“This is a really big day,” Chief Commercial Officer Kristi Ross said. “We have incredible product quality and technology that we have historically leveraged to help companies build great brands. Today is a landmark day for Targeted Pet Treats to do the same thing for ourselves.”

“We’re so excited to finally have Warren, PA, on the product,” Human Resources Manager Pam Hultquist said. “Our name was never on anything.”

“We have two brands that we’re bringing to life,” Rebecca Schulz, Principal of Swandive Marketing Agency, said. “Chewsday is really about fun and flavor and enjoyment. Andy and Audie is about, really, the best that we have to offer.”

“It’s opening up new channels and revenue streams for the company for long-term success,” Ross said. “We’re excited to continue to thrive in Warren as a Warren-based company for years to come.”

“We look forward to many more celebrations,” Austin said.

The products are going to market through different channels. “Andy & Audie will be available at independent pet stores around the country later this year,” Schulz said.

“Chewsday is going to be available on Amazon at the end of June.”

Austin took a call in the middle of one of the shift gatherings on Thursday. The initial shipment of Chewsday had arrived and the recipient was already asking for more.

“It’s important for Warren and the employees,” Austin said. “It gives them something to be proud of. It was created here in Warren by Warren residents. It’s available locally.”

Andy & Audie is available at Ace Hardware and Howe’s True Value.

And, they are about as local and Targeted as it gets.

Andy is Director of Research and Development Andy Teconchuk. He is a Warren native and has been with Targeted since before it was Targeted. Teconchuk joined Moldsmith’s in 1994. The company became Targeted in 2000. “I’ve been here the longest,” he said. “I helped develop the process.”

“They know I’ve wanted to see this place grow and I’ve seen it go from seven employees to 250,” he said. “It’s been a good ride.”

One day nine years ago, a truck driver making a delivery to Targeted had a passenger with him.

The driver’s dog had had puppies and the driver was looking for good homes.

The lab mix and Teconchuk have been together since.

His son named the dog after American soldier and actor Audie Murphy.

“My dog tests every product,” Teconchuk said.

Even the one with their names on it.

“It’s been a team effort,” Teconchuk said. “It’s about our area … small town USA.”

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