Green hype edges out out Green Tripe

Hollister dog food building may be site of cannabis business

DOGGY DELIGHT Peter Voss giving Nova the shih tzu a dog’s eye view while workers at Green Tripe process what will become dog food.

Gilroy is about to get a new dog food company thanks to Hollister’s looser cannabis business laws.

Green Tripe, which sells millions of dollars a year of raw dog food around the world, is leaving Hollister after more than a decade because its landlord sold his 9,000-square-foot building.

With legalized marijuana in the city, cannabis businesses have been snapping up buildings in the industrial district.

A neighboring building valued at $900,000 sold for $2.1 million in cash. The building at 817 Industrial Drive was the location for three potential cannabis businesses but all were denied permits by the Hollister City Council after members of the public raised concern over the site’s proximity to Rovella’s Gym.

Green Tripe, which is owned by husband and wife Mary and Peter Voss and has five full-time and three part-time employees, is moving to Alexander Street in Gilroy. Their former location in Hollister ultimately sold for $1.24 million.

That former location at 807 Industrial Drive is going before the Hollister City Council in December as a potential site for a medical cannabis manufacturing and cultivation business called Euphoric Life, Inc. The item was pushed to December 18 after previously being agendized for a November 20 meeting.

Vice Mayor Karson Klauer recused himself from the item on November 20. One of Klauer’s family members was a beneficiary of a trust that sold the 807 Industrial Drive property in August.

“I don’t think I can vote on it anyways, but I definitely don’t want to,” Klauer said by phone Tuesday.

The potential cannabis cultivator and manufacturer could face challenges from the public due to the location. Despite being in a zoned industrial area, a cannabis applicant at 817 Industrial Drive failed to get approval from city council to operate manufacturing, cultivation and dispensing businesses after public outcry that the location was too close to places where youth gather like Rovella’s Gym and San Benito Crossfit.

The Vosses ended up paying $1.45 million for their new 8,387 square foot Gilroy location at 7238 Alexander St., behind the Caltrain station, which was last occupied by Mission Powder Coating.

Gilroy wasn’t their first choice because the move will be expensive, but they were fortunate to find any location due to rising prices for industrial space in both Gilroy and Hollister.

“Every place in San Benito was gone,” said Mary Voss, who owns the company with her husband, Peter. “Everything in Gilroy was gone too. It was really stressful to find a place. But this one will be better for us. It’s smaller, but the layout is better.”

The Voss’s started the company in 1998, as just a domain name. They had lived in the Netherlands for a decade, both working as engineers for Phillips, and they saw dogs there eating raw food–specifically, tripe, the stomachs of ruminating animals. When they returned to the States, they couldn’t find any of it here.

They found some for their own dogs and Mary started a website about the health benefits of tripe–which is actually brown, but has a tinge of green from the grass the animals eat. The Afghan Hounds she raised on the raw meat were strong competition dogs that lived healthily for more than 18 years.

She wrote articles about it, including one called “No Guts, No Glory,” and spent a year finding local small slaughterhouses to buy the less desirable parts of slaughtered animals for humans and built a plant to grind them up, package them and freeze them for dogs.

In 2003, they began manufacturing in a small building and moved to a bigger location in 2007 at 807 Industrial Drive, in Hollister.

The business took off as breeders, owners of competitive dogs and police departments began spreading its praise.

“Initially when I started the website, I just wanted people to know about green tripe,” said Mary. “I had so much success with it. We know it does wonders for the dogs and they thrive on it. I didn’t intend on making it a business. I was a software engineer.”

The food brings domesticated dogs back to their evolutionary diet when they were wild wolves. Voss said her dogs never needed dental work from the diet.

“So how can something so disgusting, be so good?” she writes on her website, greentripe.com.

“These same gastric juices and enzymes not only aid the animal in digestion, but also aid the dog in digesting and efficiently utilizing his food. The amino acids are necessary for muscular development and, the other gastric juices, I believe, are the best cleaner for their teeth!”

The tripe is made from animals that are fed organic grass and lived near Hollister or in the Central Valley. The animals all pass standards for human consumption.

Green Tripe was featured on a 2008 episode of the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs along with a business that traps leeches.

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