GERMANTOWN — Possibility, passion and flexibility in the face of COVID-19 are three ingredients that keep Tanya Kapp afloat.
Her current business evolution combines her passion for leading a healthy lifestyle and her love of animals.
Kapp grew up Sussex in the midst of an entrepreneurial atmosphere — one of her grandmothers ran her grandfather’s flooring business and her late father was a songwriter and musician. While growing up, her mother owned a cleaning business and now has a web company she runs with her husband.
“My goal has always been working for myself, doing the things I love,” Kapp said.
When she was 10 years old Kapp would draw up designs for a record store, long before she owned Sonic Boom, a used-vinyl shop on Brady Street in Milwaukee.
When she opened Inglenook Wisconsin on Main Street in Menomonee Falls in June 2019, vintage remnants of Sonic Boom were incorporated into other merchandise — predominantly hand-made natural soaps, beeswax candles and beauty care products.
The store closed a few days before Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home mandate in March and reopened May 13. Four days later a water backup ruined most of the inventory and closed the store for good.
The loss included not only $20,000 of consigned and created inventory, it also destroyed another $80,000 in personal items and six months of renovation costs that she incurred.
“That was a pretty bad day,” Kapp said.
While picking up the pieces she began to think about what sort of product might be in immediate demand.
“Sometimes that’s the way things happen. You have to roll with it or life will take you down,” Kapp said.
At Inglenook, her philosophy centered on minimal packaging, organic ingredients and eco-friendly products.
She began following a mostly-organic, non-GMO healthy diet 30 years ago. She credits being more mindful about her eating and drinking habits with losing 60 pounds.
“I wanted to be in better shape and a better me. It made a big difference in my life,” Kapp said.
Along with an entrepreneurial spirit, Kapp inherited the love of animals. Her father passed away in 2017 and Kapp knew the value of dogs when it came to coping with her loss and healing.
Now she makes training treats out of healthful, preservative- and chemicalfree ingredients.
She claims no medical or veterinary degree, but devises her recipes using research, her own healthy eating experience and common sense.
“They’re more like a supplement than a treat,” Kapp said. “So far the dogs seem to really love them.”
Kapp said commercial dog food has to be shelf stable and is processed using higher temperatures.
“High heat kills everything bad, but it also kills everything good,” she said. “There’s nothing much left as far as nutrients.”
Kapp’s training treats are made to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.
The basic recipe costs $1 per ounce and ranges up to seven-ounce packages with additional higher-end ingredients for $10. Kapp describes herself as more of a maker and creator than a technician, so the going has been slow when it comes to adding more products to the Inglenook Wisconsin website. Those interested in purchasing treats can contact her by email at Inglenookwi@ gmail.com.