Brian Nichols, his wife Heather and her parents Tom and Betsy Poundstone want North Georgia pets to have the very best.
The four family members own the Puppy Pantry Boutique and Bakery, which originally opened four years ago at 2590 Hamilton Mill Road in Buford. A second location at 2095 Ga. Highway 211 NW in Braselton followed, and this month, a third location opened at 5900 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.
“We were in college and we’d shopped at stores similar to this,” Nichols said. “My wife’s parents had always wanted some kind of retail store, so they’d expressed their interest to us, and we told them we were interested in doing this one day too. So we decided to do it together while we were still in college.”
Nichols said “business is good” at the new Flowery Branch store.
“It started off pretty good,” he said. “We have a lot of people coming over from Petsmart, just because they’re looking for higher quality products from smaller, independent food companies, with better track records.”
The store carries some, but few, brands commonly seen in stores like Petco and Petsmart or grocery stores. It has a wide variety of products for both dogs and cats, including all-natural flea and tick products; supplements for joints, hips, skin conditions or other ailments; dog breath chews, gels and additives; natural treats, chews, and bones; even odor sprays, carpet cleaners and natural glass and all-purpose cleaners.
It stocks several dog food brands, but none owned by big names like Purina.
“Dog food and treats are our No. 1 things,” Nichols said. “It’s a one-stop shop for dog supplies, or at least that’s what we’re trying to be, to have some of everything. But the quality is where we set ourselves apart from big box stores and even other competitors.
“We rigorously scrutinize everything before we put it into our store. All our products are corn, wheat and soy free. None of them have artificial dyes and preservatives or any byproducts. None of them have had a recall, and we’re really concentrated on only carrying the best dog foods.”
Nichols said he attends the Global Pet Expo every year to make sure they are in touch with what’s available for pets today. He said their prices, though perhaps high compared to dog food found in a grocery store, are fair.
“A lot of people are surprised to hear we’re a good value,” he said. “They think we’re going to be expensive and we’re not. We’re actually a lot cheaper than Petco, and we’re similarly priced to Petsmart, but with better products.”
Nichols said he’s confident they carry the best dog products in the industry, and something for owners with any budget.
“If it’s available for dogs and for cats and it’s the best, we have it,” he said.
Boarding and day care are available at the Buford location, while grooming and self-washing are available at all three locations. Nichols said his hope for the new Flowery Branch location is to bring quality food to more pet owners in the area.
“For so long, not only Flowery Branch but Braselton, Buford and some of the surrounding areas haven’t had access to this kind of food before,” he said. “Down in the city, there are plenty of dog food stores that have the high-quality product. I’m really glad, because I do honestly care about the product, I care about the quality, and I care about the dogs.”