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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys,

I don't know if any of you remember me but I am the guy from Oz who was asking for suggestions on opening his own pet store in Oz. Well, we are open and doing so well that late this year we will be opening our second store :)

Anyway, I am making a trip over to the US in late August, to celebrate my wife's 30th (Madonna at Yankee Stadium!!), catch a Packers game (my pilgrimage!), and go to SuperZoo in Vegas!

We are going to be spending a little time in each of San Francisco, Boston, New York and Chicago.

I would really love some suggestions on stores to visit in these areas. Of course I am going to go see a PetCo and a PetSmart... but something else would be awesome too!

I seem to remember stumbling upon a "farmers market" style chain that operated in the US and Canada (via the interwebs of course), but I can't for the life of me remember the name - if anyone can suggest that one, that would be great as well!

Thanks in advance guys!
 

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Well, I'll start off by saying I love your user name.

And, while I don't like petstores no matter how chain or mom and pop they are, why are you looking to visit petstores? To gain inspiration?
Petco sucks and Petsmart isn't much better. Big chain places are perfect examples of sad, unhealthy animals leading sad lives until hopefully someone buys them. Surely you don't want inspiration from that.
 

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Well, I'll start off by saying I love your user name.

And, while I don't like petstores no matter how chain or mom and pop they are, why are you looking to visit petstores? To gain inspiration?
Petco sucks and Petsmart isn't much better. Big chain places are perfect examples of sad, unhealthy animals leading sad lives until hopefully someone buys them. Surely you don't want inspiration from that.
PetSmart only has small animals like mice and fish plus dog and cat adoptions- not breeder dogs from mills. We have a great local chain where I am that has a huge selection of food (high end and low end), and tons of gear at prices similar to Amazon but with actual customer service and being able to see the item, measure it against your dog etc. There's only a few small pet stores that still sell puppies; most are either the chains that only do adoptions for dogs and cats and partner with local rescues/shelters or the "boutique" stores which are small and sell only a careful selection of item (maybe only Made in the US/Canada for example)

Try googling "pet boutique" for each of the cities you plan to visit and checking out some that have high reviews. Here's a San Francisco example
I used to live in SF so I can offer plenty of tips about where to go or what to see, but I didn't own a dog at the time so I've basically only walked by the pet stores there.

Just for internet research since it's not in any of the cities you'll be going to, here's a store that I like (their facebook page shows much more) : Barkstown Road
They host adoption events, they have a patio for BYOB with your dog, they put out water for the dogs walking by (urban shopping street) and they carry carefully sourced selection of products.
 

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Well, I'll start off by saying I love your user name.

And, while I don't like petstores no matter how chain or mom and pop they are, why are you looking to visit petstores? To gain inspiration?
Petco sucks and Petsmart isn't much better. Big chain places are perfect examples of sad, unhealthy animals leading sad lives until hopefully someone buys them. Surely you don't want inspiration from that.
Not all pet stores sell pets. We have one locally that is very involved in rescue outreach and nutritional education opportunities. They sell no pets. And we have another that is rather upscale and sells a lot of designer products (no pets). Both these stores are less than five miles from my home. Unfortunately, it's in Oklahoma City which is not one of the glamor spots for tourists.
 

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I'm aware that not all pet stores sell live animals, but stores like Petsmart and Petco do, and I've personally yet to go to any petstore that properly cares for their animals, and I mean every animal, whether it's a dog or a mouse or a fish.
when I see a petstore that gives their animals adequate food, water, exercise, ventilation and separates them based on gender, then maybe I'll change my opinion on them. I'm not saying they don't exist, but places like Petsmart and Petco aren't one of them.

I just feel like looking at other petstores isn't a very good way to get ideas on how to run your shop, if you care about the animals in your care that is. And, of course, if you're selling live animals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi there,

We only sell fish - we have a dedicated staff member to look after them, they get only the best food (NLS and nutrafin, if that means anything to you) and our tanks are spotless. I have three tanks at home as well - I am a bit of a fish nut in addition to my dogs - and I certainly wouldn't want to do it badly, so we do it well instead.

We don't sell live animals - it was a conscious decision not to do so for the exact reasons you point out. Instead we have partnered with local rescue groups - we host adoption drives, raise funds, sponsor their events, etc.

We have 4 ferrets, 2 birds and 2 dogs in store - they are not for sale, they are staff members' pets who come in to spend the day with us. The dogs are my two GSDs - one of whom was adopted at 12 months of age about 2 months after I opened the store (A customer had terminal cancer and was unable to look after him, so asked me to adopt him). Lets just say our little zoo is very popular with our customers - the amount of people who come in just to cuddle a ferret, get cussed at by a corella or high-five my boy is incredible!

Anyway, back on topic - after doing some research we are going to check out Pet Food Express in SF, Kriser's in Chicago, and Audrey's in Boston, with hopefully more suggestions to come!
 

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Fish and Bone is just a block or so from Audrey's and is much nicer! The staff is more knowledgable, and the store is better stocked. I highly recommend a visit!
 

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Hi there,

We only sell fish - we have a dedicated staff member to look after them, they get only the best food (NLS and nutrafin, if that means anything to you) and our tanks are spotless. I have three tanks at home as well - I am a bit of a fish nut in addition to my dogs - and I certainly wouldn't want to do it badly, so we do it well instead.

We don't sell live animals - it was a conscious decision not to do so for the exact reasons you point out. Instead we have partnered with local rescue groups - we host adoption drives, raise funds, sponsor their events, etc.

We have 4 ferrets, 2 birds and 2 dogs in store - they are not for sale, they are staff members' pets who come in to spend the day with us. The dogs are my two GSDs - one of whom was adopted at 12 months of age about 2 months after I opened the store (A customer had terminal cancer and was unable to look after him, so asked me to adopt him). Lets just say our little zoo is very popular with our customers - the amount of people who come in just to cuddle a ferret, get cussed at by a corella or high-five my boy is incredible!

Anyway, back on topic - after doing some research we are going to check out Pet Food Express in SF, Kriser's in Chicago, and Audrey's in Boston, with hopefully more suggestions to come!
That was going to be my suggestion for your SF visit. I think it's a very nice example of a local, chain pet store. They do a lot for local rescue groups & carry a wide selection of premium products. The locations I've been in also have a self-serve, fully supplied dog washing area. It's been a while since I've lived in the city but if you're in the Haight, I seem to remember that there's a cute pet boutique on Stanyan across from Kezar Park.
 
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