Anya Tucker, co-owner of The K9 Shop in Bohemia, N.Y., and Massapequa, N.Y., explains why she is dedicated to educating her customers on the misconceptions of Big Kibble and why raw feeding is the way to go.

Pet Product News: What is The K9 Shop best known for?

Anya Tucker: We are strictly a raw and natural store. You will not find kibble brands like you find in other stores. We focus on providing the very best raw food for our clients. We do the research and homework on products before we ever put them on the shelves. The K9 Shop is known for carrying only the best and never, ever cutting corners or giving in to carry items that do not fit our model.

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

Tucker: It is hard to say what the top-selling brands are because things change on a weekly basis. Our brands are unique and meet all the criteria of a raw feeder, so customers are always moving around. Some of the more popular brands include K-9 Kraving, Answers, Top Quality, Adored Beast, Tickled Pet and so many more. 

PPN: What are your favorite products right now?

Tucker: All of our products are handpicked due to their quality, uniqueness and benefits for the raw feeder. Since they are all handpicked, all of our products are our favorite and it is impossible to pick out just a few. Every brand we carry is a top-tier brand and fits perfectly in The K9 Shop model.

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

Tucker: People are finally realizing that they have been misled by the big kibble companies. Revenue has taken over, and quality has suffered in the kibble industry. They are constantly looking for shortcuts, and the food is getting worse and worse. We keep an eye on the kibble industry so we can always educate our customers on the misconceptions and myths of the industry. We also keep a close eye on the raw industry with any new companies that are popping up. The entire pet food industry is volatile and ever changing. Things change overnight, and we have to be prepared to answer those questions.

PPN: What business challenge are you currently in the process of tackling, and how do you plan to do so?

Tucker: The biggest challenge is education. Big Kibble has deep pockets with heavy advertising budgets. We have to be able to educate clients on the benefits of raw and how this is what dogs and cats were meant to consume. Dogs and cats were not meant to eat processed foods full of additives, preservatives, dyes, chemicals, grains, etc. This is equivalent to us having processed foods like McDonald’s every day of our lives. This isn’t a healthy way to live and is not what dogs and cats were meant to eat. Education is the biggest challenge we face and also overcoming the [misinformation] of the kibble companies.

PPN: What is your best tip for connecting with customers? 

Tucker: We connect with our customers by being brutally honest and letting them know the facts. We make sure we have the top brands and do all the research for them. These two things are what keep customers coming back. They know we always have their pets’ best interest at heart.