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Great Things in Small Stores

Go Dog Go is a quaint and quintessential single, small, independent pet specialty retailer where cutting-edge nutrition, product quality, a carefully culled selection and customer education reign.



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KATHERINE MANOLA, owner of Go Dog Go in Oswego, Ill.
Type of business: brick and mortar; the building is 100+ years old and was a bank in 1911
Years in business: 8
Special services: classes in nutrition and dog walking, pet sitting and vacation care


PPN: What are the top-selling products in your store right now?

KM: The grain-free kibble is still our best-seller, but I’m glad to say that frozen raw and freeze-dried raw are coming on strong.

PPN: What are your favorite products right now?

KM: I believe less is more. I am very pleased with some of the food that is coming out now that does not contain synthetic vitamins. My favorite foods for convenience are the freeze-dried raws; people still have convenience but are feeding their dogs a much better quality food. Moist food [is my favorite] for cats—it’s so imperative that cats and dogs have moisture in their food.

PPN: What are your pet peeves?

KM: Unfortunately, people still believe that kibble keeps their pet’s teeth clean. Not so ...

PPN: What trends have you been keeping your eye on most closely?

KM: It seems like everyone is stepping on the freeze-dried bandwagon, and the big-name food companies are finally catching on about nutrition after 15 years.

PPN: What business challenge(s) are you in the process of tackling?

KM: Being a small business in a big-business world [is challenging]. Unfortunately, even those who speak about shopping small business still go to the big-box stores. We are more educated, we can help with any problems, and we are way ahead of the trends, as we keep up on educating ourselves.

PPN: What business goal are you hoping to achieve this year?

KM: To get our name out there even more than we have and to educate more people about nutrition and the health of their pets. I would love to see more veterinarians get on board with our way of thinking. 

PPN: What are you most proud of as a small, independent pet store owner?

KM: I am truly most proud of all the pet parents and pets that we have helped get on the right track with the nutrition and health of their animals.


This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Pet Product News.

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