Nestled in the rolling hills on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Hollings has become one of the UK’s leading suppliers of natural dog treats loved by dogs and their owners alike.
Founded in 1979 by Jeff Hollings, a hard-working, down to earth Yorkshire man, the story behind the Hollings brand starts many decades earlier in a farmer’s field in the Yorkshire village of Addingham.
A FAMILY FARM IN YORKSHIRE
As a young lad in his early teens, Jeff would help his father on the family farm before and after the school day turning his hand to all tasks in all weathers. Jeff loved working the land, caring for the family cattle and in time started to rear his own small herd which he used to sell in the local markets.
NOT AFRAID OF HARD WORK, LEARNING NEW SKILLS AS A BUTCHER
As Jeff approached his mid-teen years, as well as working on the farm, he started a job as a Saturday boy in a butcher’s shop in the nearby village of Ilkley charming the regular customers with his farming knowledge and refining his butchery skills. Just four years later at the age of 19, Jeff became the proud owner of the butcher’s shop and continued the tradition of high-quality meat & produce served in a respectful, professional, and personalised manner. Not afraid of hard work and early mornings, Jeff was also to be seen in the early hours of the morning on the Yorkshire doorsteps delivering fresh milk to his loyal customers on his milk round.
JUST ONE GOOD IDEA
The colours of the countryside changed with the seasons and the butcher’s shop went from strength to strength with Jeff developing his network of business contacts in the local area and capturing any attractive opportunity that knocked on his door. One of those opportunities was the sale of the nutritious off cuts collected from the butcher’s shop back door at the end of the working day. The offcuts, often rejected by humans but loved by their pets, were blended with cereal-based ingredients to create dry food recipes for dogs which became increasingly popular amongst the working dog community and sold well through local farm supply shops.
MOVING ON TO PASTURES NEW
Jeff wasn’t a man to rest on his laurels nor was he afraid of a hard day’s graft, so he reflected on the sale of the off cuts which by now was becoming a very significant part of his income. Jeff recognised that he had the skills, butchery knowledge and access to the raw ingredients to enter the dog food market himself. Jeff didn’t look back as he bravely took the decision to sell the butcher’s shop to fund his new venture and the purchase of second-hand blending equipment to create his own recipes.
THE PET FOOD STORY BEGINS
Jeff’s ambition and hard work was rewarded as his new dog food brand, Tyke, became a firm favourite in the local area and beyond with Jeff personally making and delivering the food in his small van to local shops and outlets. The brand was aptly named after the local Yorkshire dialect and the colloquial phrase for a Yorkshire man.
…AND EXPANDS IN TO NATURAL TREATS
Jeff’s reputation for tenacity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit went before him and sometime later, he won the prized contract to manufacture Judge’s Choice Country Pursuit Muesli, a royal-warrant product. A passing comment as he delivered Tyke and Judge’s Choice to a customer one day in the late 1970s set Jeff’s business mind alight again… ‘I can’t get enough pigs ears, can you help?’… & the Hollings treats brand was born!
THE HOLLINGS BUSINESS GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
Not one for artificial ingredients that have travelled miles to be manufactured in a large, automated factory, the Hollings brand remains true to Jeff’s farming heritage in the Yorkshire countryside and his commitment to natural, delicious, and nutritious treats for dogs. As demand grew, Jeff was joined in the business by his wife Celia and other members of their family. He continued to invest in and expand the original Hollings factory on the outskirts of the market town of Skipton and purchased a second facility in the ex-mining town of Worksop with equipment to roast, air-dry and cook the raw ingredients. Jeff worked closely with local abattoirs to expand the natural treats range to include other products including roasted bones, paddywack and knuckle bones that remain an important part of the range to this day.
FROM VISION AND PASSION OF ONE MAN WAS BORN A LEADING NATURAL TREATS BUSINESS
From its birth over forty years ago as the dream of a proud son of a Yorkshire farmer to the entrepreneurial business and brand it is today with many successful and established relationships, Hollings is founded on a genuine love and passion for nature, respect for animals of the land and the desire to offer the very best range of natural treats to dogs and their owners.