If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, we have a special “Small Business Friday” guest, Mr. JJ Riley! At seven years old, JJ is the youngest entrepreneur we’ve ever had the privilege of featuring! This 2nd grader is the mastermind behind his homemade dog treat business, Super-Biscuits! Over the past five months, JJ has baked, packaged, and sold hundreds of his puppy goodies to Elko area locals. However, JJ doesn’t just keep all the Super-Biscuit profits for himself. He donates a generous amount of his earnings to Underdog Street Ministries, an organization with a mission to aid our local homeless community.
On top of being a pet snack mogul, JJ is working hard at his studies through his homeschooling program, Acton Academy. He also enjoys playing soccer, hanging out at Johnny Appleseed Park, and building Lego sets.
Thank you for hanging out with us today, JJ! How did you come up with your business?
“In the program I’ve been doing for school, Acton Academy, there’s a children’s business fair. I decided I was going to make dog treats. We have dogs, and I figured a lot of other people would have dogs, too. I asked people at school, and most people said they did. I sold them at the business fair, and I realized I was making quite a bit of money. So, I decided later on to cut some of the cash off and have it go to Underdog. We’re still selling them now, once a month.”
That’s very cool! How do you get the dog treats that you sell to your customers?
“We make them homemade. In the beginning, I had to have a little bit of help, but these last times I’ve been doing more. I’ve been getting all the ingredients measured, I’ve been cutting them, I’ve been rolling them, and I’ve been bagging them. The only thing I need help with is taking them out of the oven.”
So, you give some of your money away to Underdog. What gave you the idea to do this, JJ?
“I didn’t know Underdog was a thing at first. I was just going to see if we could drop it off to the homeless, but I didn’t really know where homeless people were. They served them lunches there [at Underdog], so my mom figured that would be a good place to drop the money off.”
Why do you think it’s so important to help others who don’t have very much?
“We have a home and clean water; I can name a whole list of other stuff we have that they probably don’t have. So, I just figured it would be really nice to give it to them. I’ve been earning quite a bit of money in my account, and I’ve been giving quite a bit of money to them, too. I like that people are getting stuff they don’t have.”
JJ’s dad, Jamey, who was with us during this interview, had this to add about his son’s work and character.
“Even when he was younger, we would be driving, and he’d see the people outside of the grocery stores with signs. He’d get really curious, and he’d ask us about it. He’s always had a soft heart for people who needed help. He got older, and it’s evolved into this dog treat business, and they’ve been a huge hit. We’ve started matching him. We figured we couldn’t let our son do that without us doing it, too! We’ve talked about having a one-time community-wide fundraiser, and keep everything local. All of this was JJ’s idea, and he’s just running with it. He loves to do it.”
If you would like to get your hands one some of JJ’s Super Biscuits, you can find him here on Facebook or you can text his mom, Season Riley, a call at 340-6986
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around, Elko!
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill