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Sturdi Products Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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One good idea led to 20 years of successful solutions for those traveling with cats and small dogs.

Richard van Engers, the founder and CEO of Sturdi Products, was driving by a vet clinic when he saw a woman carrying a box. The bottom fell out and a cat fell out. Over the front of the vet clinic was an awning that was about the shape of what the future Sturdi bag would be.

“He sewed his first one at home, and he didn’t even know how to sew,” Penny Johnson, executive vice president of Sturdi Products, said. “Eventually he had a very small amount produced by local sewers and home sewers and would take them to cat shows. People loved them.”

At the time, there were not a lot of options for carrying animals. But the trait that made van Enger so popular, was his customer service.

“Every show he would go to, he would listen to everyone that came that had different idea changes for his products,” Johnson said. “He would listen to those ideas and if he thought they were good enough, he would make those changes.”

All of their products are hand sewn and they have to be done very carefully, she explained.

“You have to know what you are doing and you have to be good at what you’re doing,” Johnson explained about the production process.

The reason Sturdi Products has been successful, and why they will continue to be successful, Johnson said, is because they never forget about their customers.

“Rich now-a-days continues to listen to every customer at shows and listens to their ideas,” Johnson said. “We really do want to make our customers happy. If they have a problem with our product then we see what we can do to it to make them happy. We will fix it, replace it, whatever they need.”

She added, “We need to continue to listen to our customers and to create a quality, safe and attractive product for our customers that helps decrease stress on the animal and owner during traveling. We cut down on the stress of the traveling pet owners by producing products that work.”

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