The Journey of an Entrepreneur

Posted on: January 31, 2013

This week we profile MABC program graduate Melissa Kelly.  A chemist, small business owner, and JIU grad, Melissa has a fascinating and inspirational story! 

Melissa Kelly was a chemist first.  Today she and her partner are the owners of a successful small business – Grateful Pet – which sells and delivers natural pet foods to pet owners in the Indianapolis community.  How did Melissa go from chemist to pet food distributer?  Her educational journey began with a bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from tiny Marian College.  She soon landed a job with Baxter Pharmaceutical Solutions, working as a chemist.  Having always dreamed of working for herself, Melissa decided to go back to school to earn her Master’s degree.  She tried a few classes at Indiana University and found the huge class sizes and campus to be overwhelming and lacking the individual attention she was looking for.  Melissa then turned to JIU where she entered the MABC program with a focus in Project Management.  JIU was a good fit for Melissa as she was still working full time when she began her coursework.  She enjoyed the online environment which allowed her the freedom to focus on her classes on her own schedule.  Shortly after completing her degree, Melissa landed a job with Eli Lilly & Co.  But she also felt that she had the skill set needed to go out on her own.  Her JIU MABC degree provided her with confidence and solid corporate communication skills required to run her own business. 

So how did she get the idea for Grateful Pet?  Melissa and her partner are the proud parents of three dogs – two boxers Meg and Wilson, and a weimaraner, Jax.  After moving to central Indianapolis from the suburbs, Melissa and her partner realized that pet food options were very limited in the city and in order to get the healthy food that her dogs required, she’d have to drive 30 minutes to find the nearest retailer.  Knowing that other pet owners in the Indianapolis area were experiencing the same headache, Melissa and her partner founded Grateful Pet.  Grateful Pet is a delivery service that allows customers to choose from over 60 premium food, treat, and toy products and to have these products delivered right to their home. 

Melissa hopes to continue to expand Grateful Pet with a brick and mortar store in the near future.   In her own words: “Grateful Pet has been a rewarding business experience, though a lot of hard work.  We are thrilled to be able to contribute to our community by providing Grateful Pet’s services to the local Seeing Eye Dog program.  My JIU MABC degree gave me the confidence and skill set needed to start my own business; I am excited to see where this venture leads.”

To learn more about Grateful Pet, click here!  JIU wishes Melissa the best of luck in her Grateful Pet venture!