Frankfort engineers go to the dogs making healthy treats | Business


Jeff Vorva Times correspondent

Tinley Park native Joel Lee has found himself smack dab in the middle of a dog treat business.

His main job is as an engineer at Illinois Tool Works in Frankfort, where he has worked for 22 years, most recently as an innovation engineer.

He helped come up with an idea that could make some canines happy.

Lee and co-worker Tom Chlystek have a side gig creating and selling Rx Bone dog treats, which Lee says are healthier than many of the treats on the market today.

“When we went to the store, we noticed a hole in the market for premium bones,” he said. “You can get dog bones on the lower end — like cookies for kids. They have fillers and things like that. We’re trying to keep those away from our animals. We put the recipe together, and the dogs love it. So, we decided to start selling it.”

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The business started to get serious shortly before almost everything in the world was shut down in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee, his wife, Michelle, and Chlystek, a senior project engineer who lives in the western suburbs, were ready to head out to events in the summer to get the word out on their new products. But COVID had other ideas as 2020 had very few public events .

Now they are giving it another go.

“Last December, everything started to loosen up,” Joel said. “So, we decided to move forward.”

The Rx group has plans to go to pet shows, dog parks and festivals throughout the south suburbs. Events in Frankfort and Tinley Park are on the docket. In one of their earliest appearances, it gave out free samples of the bones at a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at Firemen’s Park in Monee on May 21.

The treats are available at the Cornerstone Coffee House in Peotone, but Rx will soon be launching a website where the treats can be purchased.

Michelle Lee, an Oak Forest native who is working on the website and helping to make the treats, was more than receptive when her husband presented the idea of ​​a dog treat business.

“I love the idea,” she said. “When they first told me about it, I thought it was great especially because there is a lot out there with fillers.

“A lot of people are more into their dogs, and it’s like their family and they want to take care of them.”

Joel Lee, a Tinley Park High School graduate who went to Prairie State College and James Madison University, said that there was a little hit-or-miss before coming up with the right combination.

“We wondered what could we do to get back to the basics?” he said. “We came up with some recipes and tried them out with our own dogs. We have real bone in every bone and no fillers. Real meat. All natural.”

Joel Lee said his healthy treats are good for dogs of all ages.

“Dog owners who are into nutrition like the fact that there are no fillers at all,” he said. “It’s all natural and that’s good for the dogs’ muscles and joints.

“Young dogs need that to grow and old dogs need that when their joints are achy. These are easy to digest.”

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