Where it all started
The welfare of dogs and cats has always been at the heart of Bob Martin, having originated from animal lover, veterinarian and dog father, Bob Martin’s, concern for the health and well-being of pets.
Bob Martin originated in Southport, a town on the northwest coast of the United Kingdom. Its founder, Robert Martin, was a veterinarian by profession and at the end of 19e century, he noticed that many dogs lacked health and vitality. This was mainly due to the role dogs had in society at the time. Dogs were given food scraps from the table, leftovers, and as such, vital vitamins and minerals were not absorbed. As a result, dogs did not live long and healthy lives and were not really raised to be part of the family with most being kept outdoors and as a means of safety. Dog owners weren’t quite sure how to solve the problem because they wanted the best for their pets, and Robert “Bob” Martin set to work to provide a simple solution to solve the problem.
As a result, Robert Martin created a vitamin and mineral powder that he prescribed to owners to feed their pets as a supplement to their diet. What started as a small company operating out of a greenhouse in 1892 making the grooming powder for dogs quickly grew into the creation of a new market sector – pet health care.
From the conditioning powder to WWII and become a household name
Conditioning powders were the mainstay of the company for years and it wasn’t until the outbreak of the 2nd World War, that a shift began. The Bob Martin factory in Southport was re-opened for a time to provide vital supplies to the soldiers. In many ways came the thriving character of a family business after that.
Southport had an illustrious Victorian era as it became a seaside resort for the proliferating working and middle class in the early to mid-20th century. After the war, however, there was a lack of employment and the city had to reinvent itself. Due to the burgeoning success of the Bob Martin company, the founder’s son, Robert Martin, also called Robert Martin, built a new purpose-built factory and began to employ many local people. Many of those people had worked for the company for decades and it was known as a great environment to work in. Robert Martin (second/junior) was a great salesperson and marketer – he loved creating ads, generating PR and traveling. He started the process of making the company a household name. What followed was the mass production of the conditioning powder and tablets, as well as several other important pet wellness products, as well as the cementation of a wider family business. It was probably this moment that ensured the company had scale in which to survive, grow and prosper, not only at home but also abroad, and build the foundations to ensure its continued existence.
Finding paws in South Africa
At the young age of 25, Bob Martin had the foresight to create pet grooming products to complement pet food, and the industry started from there. With Bob Martin products educating animal lovers about the health and wellbeing of their pets, the demand for pet care products grew. South Africa became the company’s next port of call after production in the UK was in full swing. Robert Martin Junior loved to travel and had a deep connection with the South African nation and, crucially, found a country that loved and had many of their pets and animals! This has led to a long-standing partnership with South Africa’s pets and has evolved over the past 60 years.
Continuing this partnership and relationship with animal lovers and pet owners in South Africa is vital to Bob Martin. A key ambition of the family business is to help all pets in South Africa, not just the most privileged. That was always the responsibility Bob Martin’s kids were taught—that this is primarily a family business that should enrich pet owners and the lives of their families, not just a means of making a profit.
“You must be deeply connected to the vital need to protect and care for our beloved pet friends and it must be available to all pet owners, not just a few. They are part of the family and deserve the best” says Simon Matin (Robert Martin’s great-great-grandchild)
Bob Martin quickly became the leader in the pet health care market in South Africa and by partnering with pet experts and experienced veterinarians, the company creates great pet products and invaluable pet care advice for everyone, everywhere and when they need it.
A new product to satisfy your pets’ taste buds and keep them healthy
A natural step for the brand was to start developing animal nutrition and other care and health products. So as we enter a new year, Bob Martin’s 130th year, they’ve added a new and improved range of dry dog food. Dog moms and dads, the new range will have tails wagging, and we think you’ll love the new look as much as your dogs love the taste. Bob Martin Dry Dog Food is tasty and packed with Bob Martin conditioning tablets that provide your dog with all their nutritional needs in one.
A bright future for Bob Martin
“The brand has grown from a vitamin supplement brand to the leading supplier of pet care, dog food and treats in South Africa. We look forward to the future ahead and help pets live longer as long as possible,” said Brendan Hayes, CEO of Bob Martin.
130 years later, the merits and hard work of the Bob Martin family’s great-grandfather (and company) still play a part in reshaping the animal relationship with their human owners. Creating products that are available to everyone and that play a role in developing long and healthy lives for pets from all walks of life is at the heart of what we do.
“Over the past year, our great-grandfather would be incredibly proud of the company’s achievements and the direction we’re headed in 130 years since he started it,” concludes Martin.