Collaring the market

Downtown Vancouver business Niche Wine & Art

Locally-owned Family Pet Supplies store

“Customers are really excited that we’re in the area,” said Ungureanu. “Everyone is happy with the prices and the type of products we carry. They feel safe knowing they can come in, pick a product and be certain that there’s no junk in it or anything that can harm their pet.”

Family Pet Supplies specializes in the sale of all-natural products and food that’s void of fillers such as corn, wheat and soy, which are commonly linked to food allergies and other adverse conditions in pets.

The decision to sell exclusively all-natural, according to Ungureanu, came from Jiganie, his nephew.

“He (Jiganie) started breeding birds and saw the difference an all-natural diet made,” recalled Ungureanu. “He noticed a big difference in the color and energy of the birds. They really seemed a lot healthier.”

In just 12 months of business, Ungureanu said he has already witnessed an increase in demand for all-natural pet food. The only thing that makes customers hesitate, he said, is the fact that all-natural food costs more.

Or does it?

“In the long run, we tell everyone it’s cheaper to buy the better food. Your pet will eat less because it gets more nutrition out of the food, and it keeps them healthier. That means less vet bills and problems with certain types of cancers or food-related allergies.

“Minor surgery to remove something like a small tumor can cost anything from $1,000 to a few thousand dollars,” Ungureanu added. “This food really avoids that. It’s not a cure, but it is preventative. It’s like going to McDonalds and getting fast food every day versus getting a nice home-cooked, healthy meal.”

Not by accident, Family Pet Supplies’ focus on all-natural products has also helped the family-owned business compete with large pet store chains and big box stores like Walmart and Costco.

“You’re not going to come in and find something that expires in one month because it has been sitting in a warehouse or on the shelf for six or seven months,” said Ungureanu.
“Most of the dry food has a year shelf life, and on our shelf it’s usually sold within a couple months at most.”

In addition to freshness of product, Ungureanu said his business prides itself on a higher level of customer service.

“We try to educate people versus just selling them the food,” he said. “With dog food for example, we sell them the information and let them decide. We tell them which varieties of food might be best for their breed.”

Looking to the future, Ungureanu said he would like to open up a second location one day. In the meantime, he said the focus is on growing the variety of foods on hand, especially as the number of all-natural pet food makers in the region increases.

“We’re seeing locally owned companies in the Northwest starting to branch out and get bigger,” he said. “Many of them are making all-natural foods using organic ingredients, or are just family-owned businesses that are making stuff for pets. We’d like to incorporate more of that as we grow.”

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