Ridiculous Small-Business Plan Encouraged By Friends

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Vol 39 Issue 42

Pope John Paul II: 25 Years Of Laughs

VATICAN CITY—As Pope John Paul II enters his 26th year as pontiff, the world is stopping to reflect on the legendary funnyman's career as one of the most influential performers in modern history. Standing staunchly against contraception and women's equality right through the turn of the 21st century, the pope and his quirky, deadpan comic persona still entertain audiences around the world.

Nursing-Home Residents Mate In Captivity

COLBY, KS—Following six months of failed attempts under intense observation by geriatric scientists, Briarwood Nursing Home residents Horace Klass, 86, and Helen Veukmaan, 83, successfully mated in captivity Monday. "As with most new arrivals to Briarwood, Horace and Helen at first seemed despondent," Briarwood's Dr. William Stander said. "Before long, though, they grew accustomed to their new habitat, and Horace soon felt comfortable enough to approach Helen. Indeed, Horace ultimately proved quite aggressive." Briarwood employees report that, after mating, Klass provided Veukmaan with half a box of windmill cookies.

Area Man Wins Conversation

KING MILLS, OH—A friendly chat about the weather resulted in victory for Daniel Cooper Wednesday, as a brilliant and well-timed rebuttal from the 36-year-old pastry chef devastated his opponent. "Yeah, well, if this is the heaviest rain we've had in years, then I guess I hallucinated my basement flooding last July," Cooper said, deftly parrying his coworker Colin Garrison's challenge. "This rain is nothing." Wordlessly acknowledging Cooper's superiority, Garrison slinked back to the cooler, defeated.

Katie Couric Winces At Word 'Vagina'

NEW YORK—Today host Katie Couric noticeably winced at mention of the word "vagina" during an interview with National Ovarian Cancer Foundation spokeswoman Janette Pruce Monday. "I understand that it's important to raise awareness and promote early detection, which is why I was happy to have [Pruce] on the show," a flustered Couric said after the interview. "I just didn't expect her to come right out and say the 'V' word." An intern on the show said that Couric hadn't appeared that uncomfortable since walking in on one of the Dixie Chicks breastfeeding.

More Than $30 Worth Of Burned CDs Stolen From Residence

ALBUQUERQUE—Police are still not investigating a burglary at the Watson Avenue apartment of George Kinney, who reported the theft of more than 300 CDRs, with an estimated value of $32. "It looks like the bastard dropped down onto my back balcony from the neighbor's roof," Kinney said Monday. "Goddammit. I spent hours burning all those CDs." Kinney was the victim of a similar crime in June 2001, when someone broke into his YMCA locker and stole his Diet Pepsi Twist promotional duffel bag, which contained a copy of USA Today.

U.S. Upset After Aliens Land In Italy

WASHINGTON, DC—White House press secretary Scott McClellan issued a statement Monday expressing disappointment "on behalf of all Americans" that alien envoys from the planet Xygal 8B made their historic first landing in Italy, rather than in the U.S. "We are confused and saddened that the Xygalians chose to take their first steps on Tuscan soil," McClellan said. "We are hopeful that [Xygalian] Cmdr. Gorx will recognize the oversight and relocate to the U.S., which is better equipped to host an intergalactic traveler." McClellan added that the internationally televised handshake between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Gorx "added insult to injury."

Lawyer Friend Makes Strong Case For Nachos

HARTFORD, CT—During a night out for dinner and drinks at Shooters Bar And Restaurant, probate attorney Michael Bradshaw built a strong case in re ordering nachos, Bradshaw's friends reported Tuesday.

I Would Treat The Girl From The Muffler Commercial Right

Oh my God, it's on again. There's the girl I've been telling you about—the one I always see on television. Quiet! This is my favorite part. Just look at her. Isn't she the most beautiful woman you've ever seen? Doesn't she have the nicest voice? I know this in my heart: If I had a chance, I would treat that girl from the muffler commercial right.
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Personal Finance

Ridiculous Small-Business Plan Encouraged By Friends

MISSOULA, MT—Due in large part to the encouragement of her so-called friends, 34-year-old Karen Sabin quit her steady job to make and sell homemade gourmet dog biscuits out of her home, the former hospital receptionist told reporters Monday.

Sabin's friends encourage her terrible idea.

"People love gourmet foods," said Sabin, describing the thought behind her half-formed business plan. "It only makes sense that dogs would, too. Don't they deserve to have their taste buds tickled? There's a huge untapped market for high-end dog treats made with natural ingredients, and I'm getting in on the ground floor. If you don't believe me, ask my friend Angie [Anderton]."

Sabin said she arrived at the idea of producing gourmet dog biscuits in May, not through careful market research, but through a discussion with Anderton.

"I told her about this article I read somewhere, about how Milk Bones are mostly made of ash," Anderton said. "When Karen heard that, she almost lost it. She'd been giving Milk Bones to her golden retriever Max for years. I said, 'Wouldn't it be great if someone made all-natural dog biscuits?' and Karen's eyes lit up. I'd never seen her so excited."

Armed with the drive to succeed, Sabin began to test dog-biscuit recipes in her kitchen. She also began to sketch out packaging ideas, giving Anderton frequent updates on her progress.

"I said, 'Do what you love, and the money will follow,'" Anderton said. "Even if it doesn't, at least she pursued her dreams. I'm so happy for her."

Sabin adapted a recipe she found on the Internet to create her signature line of six dog-biscuit varieties. She made a large batch of what would become "Grandma Sabin's Low-Fat Biscuits For Particularly Finicky Dogs," and sent samples to six of her dog-owning friends.

"I don't remember, but I guess I told her how much my dog loved them," Sabin's friend Peggy Van Vliet said. "A few weeks later, she came up to me and told me that my compliment really encouraged her. She said something about leaving her job and going into business for herself. What could I say? She seemed so happy. I told her it was a good idea."

Two weeks ago, Sabin tendered her resignation at Missoula General Hospital to devote more time to her ill-conceived dream. Until her home-equity loan is approved, she will use her life savings of $3,000 as working capital.

One of six varieties of Sabin's all-natural dog treats.

"When Karen said that she was quitting her job, I told her she was doing the right thing," longtime friend Gail Komareck said. "She doesn't actually have any small-business experience, but how else is she going to learn? I told her to jump in headfirst. It's sink or swim. Besides, she really hated the long hours she had to work at the hospital. She has everything to gain and not all that much to lose."

"Plus, my dogs seem to love those biscuits," Komareck added.

Sabin said she will produce the biscuits in her kitchen and sell them through the mail until she generates enough capital to open a storefront with a bakery. This will require the sale of approximately 90,000 biscuits at $1.50 each.

"I expect to open the store early next year," Sabin said. "Maybe I can even get it open before Christmas. But I'd have to look into... I don't know. I guess I'd have to call a real-estate agent to find a store location?"

Former coworker Wendy Gerber is among the many friends who encouraged Sabin.

"Karen was so excited about her business," Gerber said. "I couldn't help but get caught up in it. I asked her if I could do anything for her, and she told me that she needed help designing a web site. I was happy to help. Most businesses go under within a year, so she needs a professional web site to give her business an edge."

In the past three weeks, Sabin has given out nearly 60 dog biscuits and sold almost twice that many, all to friends. By conservative estimates, unless she experiences a 4,000 percent increase in sales, Sabin will be forced out of business before the end of the year.

"You'd be surprised just how many dogs prefer my biscuits," Sabin said. "If you put one side by side with a store-bought biscuit, dogs will always eat mine first. I'd eat these dog biscuits myself, if it came down to it. With that kind of endorsement, how could I possibly go wrong?"

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