The New Year has us feeling nostalgic about our dad, Robert L. Jones, who dedicated 38 years to make Jones Natural Chews the leading manufacturer of premium, all-natural, made in the USA dog treats and chews it is today. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look back at the time he spent growing the business and how the next generation is leading us into the future. Today, Robert’s oldest son, Darren, who serves as vice president of product development for the company, shares some of his father’s life lessons and lasting impacts:
Dad groomed us for the business at an early age, letting us tag along with him to work and help on the small farm we had during my elementary school days. I cherished the times we worked together to build fences and feed the sheep and pigs. In 1970, when I was in third grade, we moved into town and Dad started Jones Locker Service, a meat cutting and retail meat shop.
Dad got us rabbits … 200 of them! He insisted I do the feeding and cleaning for the rabbits. It was hard work, but I later came to understand that it wasn’t just about the rabbits. He was teaching us responsibility and work ethic.
I was a big fan of anything with wheels, especially dirt bikes, three-wheelers and snowmobiles! Like any responsible father, Dad was not fond of us riding these vehicles. But, he knew it was important to me, and he allowed me and my brother, Dean, to ride on our land. I learned confidence and, again, responsibility, as we also worked on the bikes and paid for maintenance with our own money. This was also a good learning tool for me.
In 1988, the Jones family business transitioned from generations of meat cutters to Jones Natural Chews dog treat company. By this time, we were all working alongside Dad and eager to expand the business. Change was not easy for Dad, but he was committed to continuing the family tradition and developing a successful business to one day hand over to his children.
Dad believed in us, letting us experiment with new products, many of which are still staples of Jones Natural Chews today. We have never stopped evolving and pushing ourselves to develop the best all-natural, Made in the USA dog treats and chews.
I am forever grateful to have such a loving and caring father, who not only taught me responsibility and work ethic but also love and forgiveness. Jones Natural Chews is the company it is today because of his leadership. Thanks, Dad.
Vice President, Product Development