When life gives you lemons, make shampoo. That seems to be the motto of Gay and Buz Fifer, a Wooster couple working to take their pet care company to the next level by focusing on a line of all-natural products.
Parsley Hollow, which began selling its products in 2005, grew from an all-too-common circumstance in today's economy: Both she and her husband had been laid off from their jobs.
"I'm 63, Buz is 65, we had good careers, we had good jobs, we have good resumes, but nobody wants to hire people who are our age," Gay says. "And so we started a business."
Gay says that before Parsley Hollow sold its first product, she already had been "making these organic, all natural products for my own animals, which had skin problems." One day, she asked her vet if he thought she could make something that might be as effective as the expensive stuff sold commercially. "And he said 'yeah, I think you could.'"
In fact, that vet carried the Parsley Hollow line until his recent retirement, the Fifers say.
Today, the company sells six products, all of which the Fifers say differ from most mainstream pet products because they are "completely all natural and organic." Additionally, each product includes a natural antibacterial agent, Gay says.
The company has some celebrity endorsements, including legendary Miami Dolphins running back Larry Csonka and country artist Kasey Lansdale. Three veterinarians, 10 specialty pet stores and 12 groceries are actively selling the products, Buz says.
While an economic downturn has affected sales, the Fifers say they are negotiating a national deal that could put their products on shelves nationally -- though under a different name -- late this year.
Sources: Gay and Buz Fifer, Parsley Hollow
Writer: Gene Monteith