|Volume 15, Issue 1||
When it comes to pet nutrition, Richard Dupraw is an expert. Although he only bought the Holistic Pet store a couple of years ago, he’s been working in the industry for over 20 years. He really understands how high quality food can keep your pets healthy.
He purchased the business, located in the “Safeway” center at Murray and Cornell, from the previous owner in May 2015. He had been working as a rep for a pet food distributor, visiting stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. He says, “I was calling on the store as a sales representative, and heard through a fellow rep that the owner might be interested in selling. I had told this friend that in the right circumstance I would love to own a store, and she put us together.” He already knew the Cedar Mill area, since he grew up in Rock Creek, and used to live on Filbert, so it was a good fit.
“We only carry foods that are “self-manufactured,” he explains. That means that the company actually makes the food and stands behind its ingredients. “I have worked for several pet food manufacturers and they teach you well. We carry more than 20 brands of good quality natural pet foods.” When owners mention that their pets have skin or coat problems, Dupraw suggests trying a better food. “Some of the foods we carry are solutions based, but just upgrading to a better food may be the solution on its own.”
Just as carefully-sourced and organic foods for people have become more available and affordable in recent years, the same is true of pet foods. People realize that it’s cheaper in the long run to feed their pets well than it is to spend time and money on vet bills (to say nothing of avoiding the suffering).
People have the same kind of beliefs about pet food as they do their own diets, in some cases. The recent enthusiasm for grain-free foods is not entirely helpful, Dupraw notes. People say that dogs and cats are carnivores, but the first part of its prey that a wild animal eats is the gut, and that’s usually full of seeds and grain! “There are three grains to avoid,” he says. “Corn, soy, and wheat generally aren’t good for dogs and cats. But oats, barley, and rice provide vitamins and calories along with fiber, for example. Dogs generally have to go up to 10 hours between feeding, and these carbs are slower to digest, so they provide the sustained nutrition to keep pets happy while owners are away.”
Dupraw worked his way through college in various retail outlets, so he understands what it takes. But visiting a variety of pet stores throughout the region was his best training. “I had the advantage of having been in more than 400 different stores in the last 10 years, so I could see some things that worked and some that didn’t.”
In addition to pet food, the shop carries all the various items pet owners need, from harnesses and leashes to toys and beds. He keeps up on new items by attending the huge yearly convention in August in Las Vegas called “Super Zoo.” He also hears about good finds from customers, and he can get almost any kind of food and accessories as a special order, which he is happy to do. Be sure to check out the terrific assortment of treats, both packaged and fresh. Smoked bones are very popular, and they need to be fresh so it’s a challenge to keep enough in stock!
|The best of what you want to keep your cat happy!|
The shop also includes a “pet wash.” They do offer full-service grooming, but if you only need to wash your dog and don’t enjoy the mess, they provide everything but the dog! (or cat), Dupraw says. “We have two different shampoos, conditioner, brushes, combs, air dryers or towels, treats for the dog, and aprons so you don’t take a bath too!” They have just initiated a single $15 price for any size dog.
Full-service grooming is available seven days a week. “We have three fantastic groomers—Anne, Quinn, and Shawnee. Between them we have more than 40 years’ experience in grooming! We can groom any dog, and the service includes bath, blow dry, comb out, haircut, nails, ears, teeth and if requested gland expression.” Dupraw notes, “The groomers give the dog 100% attention as we groom by appointment. Services can be tailored to the customer’s specific needs. Unfortunately we don’t groom cats...but you can bring them to the self-serve wash...we have seen a few! Because our groomers are so talented we do book out several weeks in advance so we encourage customers to book early!” They’re also happy to do only a nail trim or other basic services.
Bulk treats in buckets let your pets choose their favorite flavors
|Floppy toys for your fur kids|
|Dupraw with the first dollar he earned
at Holistic Pet
Dupraw spends a lot of time in the store—six days a week—but he also depends on his three sales associates, Mary, Shannon, and Taylor. He likes knowing that he’s creating a business for his “work family” and for the community. “Each of my employees brings their own skills to the business,” he says. “Mary is very good at doing research for customers, for example. It took a while to build this team,” he says. “It’s great when a customer calls about something and asks to make sure one of them is in that day!”
One of Dupraw’s biggest challenges is making sure potential customers know about the shop. During the summer, they regularly had space in the Farmers’ Market to pass out samples and coupons. “We don’t spend a ton on marketing, and what we do spend we try to keep local. We support the high school and many of the programs like band and volleyball and cheerleading. We supported Little League this year and we advertise in a few local publications like this one! We are also a proud member of the Cedar Mill Business Association and we sponsor one of the banners that hang on Cornell. We want people to know that we are a partner in the community.”
“We always appreciate our customer...we know they have choices and we are always happy when they choose us. With that, I would tell people who don’t shop here that they might be surprised that the cost of superior nutrition is not that far from what they pay at the grocery store or big box store. Come in and let us consult with you on your pet’s health,” he says.
Holistic Pet is located at 13567 NW Cornell Rd., next to Bandito Taco in the “Safeway” center. Contact them by phone at 503-626-PETS (7387), or on their Facebook page. Better yet, stop by and see what you and your pets have been missing!
Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291