Successful Entrepreneur Discusses Business Advantages of Missouri

Missouri is home to thousands of successful businesses. In the Kansas City region in particular, there’s a large cluster of companies in the animal and pet industry that’s so significant, it’s known as the Animal Health Corridor.

We wanted to hear from someone who’s operated their business from this region, so we sat down with Joe Roetheli, the CEO of Pet’s Best Life. Roetheli is the inventor of the wildly popular Greenies® dental treats, and he’s currently working on a new business venture in the pet industry. He had a lot to say about starting his business in Missouri and how he plans to continue to grow his global company.

Joe Roetheli, Inventor of Greenies® & CEO of Pet’s Best Life

You’ve had a great deal of success in the pet industry over the years. Can you tell us what it’s like operating your business from Kansas City, Missouri? 

I was born and raised in Missouri and have since lived in numerous other locations. I have a deep appreciation for the values, openness, and ingenuity of people in Missouri and the Show Me willingness to work together and help one another, plus its affordability and central location. Our first business was not meant to be a business but to simply improve the terrible bad breath of our family dogs. From that, Greenies® dog treats were born. This endeavor evolved into a successful business, in significant part, because of our many informal local partnerships.

Your newest venture is Pet’s Best Life LLC and you just launched the company’s first product in March 2020, so tell us about the company. 

Well, the timing of our launch was as bad as can be re: COVID. The good news is we conceived the Yummy Combs® brand to help dogs live longer, happier, healthier lives. Some have described the functional shape as ingenious, others as a hybrid of a cross section of a bee’s nest and a hockey puck.  That patented shape provides state-of-the-art safety and is truly pioneering oral health care; there is nothing else like it! Then, we pack it with the #1 nutrition and most wellness ingredients. Dogs love the taste; owners value the results. Try’em! Available at PetSmart and select independent pet stores and soon at Vet Clinics, Amazon, Chewy, and Petflow. I have been accurately quoted numerous times for saying “I can exist without a dog, but I can’t live without a dog!”

You could run Pet’s Best Life from anywhere in the world, so why did you decide to establish your HQ in Kansas City, Missouri?

In our 44 years of marriage and 24 years working side by side as entrepreneurs, Judy and I simply like the Midwest and Missouri values, the changing of the seasons, and the spirit and values that are consistent with ours. It is advantageous to be located in Missouri which is part of the pet industry corridor.

Can you tell us about the entrepreneurial spirit in the state?

We consider Missouri to be a great place to be an entrepreneur, and North Kansas City in particular.  Taxes and housing are affordable, we find people who we can inspire and are excited to work with us in a unique culture. The Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) honored S&M NuTec/Greenies®/Pill Pockets® as Missouri’s best example of a small business receiving support from a SBDC for the SBA/SBDC’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

What’s next for Pet’s Best Life?

Hopefully providing products that have great taste and yield a better life for pets and more enjoyment to owners. We need to build national and international awareness and educate dog owners of the values of Yummy Combs®. Meanwhile, we are developing another very healthy formula to address owners who want more variety. We anticipate that the new formula will mirror the current one to a significant degree—just different protein sources and more fruits and vegetables. Yummy Combs® currently provide 44% superior protein, all amino acids, and a complete and balanced diet formulated by a Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist.

Are you involved in any businesses outside the pet industry?

Yes. Our family owns and leads SM Products, a power tool accessory company, selling under the Spyder® brand. Spyder® sales are growing rapidly primarily in all Lowe’s stores across the USA and are just now being launched in stores across Canada.

Kansas City is your home, and it’s clear you’re passionate about the region and giving back.…

As Greenies® began growing, we founded The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation and when Mars purchased S&M NuTec/Greenies® and Pill Pockets, the Foundation acquired liquid assets. We focus on Third World Assistance, Pet Therapy, Entrepreneurship, Inspiration for People to Become the Best They Can Be, and a few Special Projects. We have had the privilege to build over 350 homes, 4 schools, and 3 micro-enterprises in Guyana, South America, and about 50 homes in Central America, plus one in Haiti.  In addition, we have partnered with Engineers Without Borders on two deep well projects in Malawi, Africa. In pet therapy, we have supported efforts at the University of Missouri on human-pet interactions and with Pets for Life here in KC. The Foundation provided the basic concept and funding to launch the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at UMKC. The Foundation has published several books and documentary films to inspire people. Lastly, the Foundation has provided funds for special projects such as a home for a family that lost everything in the Joplin tornado and several prison ministries. Building the homes for the poorest of the poor in Guyana has been the most gratifying experience of my life!

It’s people like you that make our state a special place to live and work. Thanks for choosing Missouri for your business. 

Judy and I love living in the Kansas City area. I have visited all 50 states and all continents except Antarctica—the latter is on my bucket list. Judy still has a couple of states she has not visited, but she grew up in Florida. So, we have a wealth of travel and living experiences, and we chose the KC metro area!

Joe & Judy Roetheli

What Next?