with no food ingredients sourced
in China. However, the store’s
credo of welcoming all members
of the community includes embracing the value shopper, who
might be nourishing multiple
dogs due to the number of stray
animals in the region.
“Many of our customers live
out in the country where dogs are
dropped off and, instead of chasing them away, they feed them,”
In catering to these good Samaritans, the store stocks a pre-mium-blend food at a lower price
point, providing a higher-quality
diet while also competing with
big-box and grocery store brands.
Once a customer witnesses the
benefits of a more nutritious diet,
they often are receptive to exploring the next quality level of food.
“We can make the progression
IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY
up the food chain and go from
there, but we have to start some-
place,” he said. “We never belittle
our customers into purchasing a
more expensive food; every cir-
cumstance is different.”
This lack of judgment is the
hallmark of Pet Things and, for
this reason, word-of-mouth has
been pivotal to the store’s success.
With the care and feeding of
homeless animals so dear to the
heart of Pet Things and the Briecic
family, it’s no wonder the store’s
monthly adoption days stand out
as a favorite event.
“It’s gets the dogs out of the
shelter, and people are able to
learn about adoption,” Terry said.
The study of pet nutrition, food
ingredients and brand awareness
means an afternoon of fine dining
when Terry dons his chef’s hat and
invites pet owners to “Eat Like a
Dog.” These frequently held soi-
rees find guests savoring a repast
prepared with the very ingredi-
ents found in the highlighted pet
food. For example, a mouth-wa-
tering apple-glazed pork tender-
loin with caramelized butternut
squash represented a meal from
“We featured Fromm Family
Foods by serving cheese and sau-
sage flown in from Wisconsin,”
Terry said. ”When promoting
this event, I have to explain that
we are not serving dog food.”
Perhaps Pet Things’ impact on
the community of Douglasville is
best illustrated with the story of
the elementary school teacher,
who casually mentioned to her
class that she would be shopping
for pet food after school.
Hands flew up: “Go to Pet
Things so you can get your dog
food from Jake!”
“Half the class knew who Jake
was,” Terry said. “Our custom-
ers call us ‘the happiest place on
As an independent retailer
today, what has been your
Terry Briecic: It’s the online
guys. They are tough. We are
exploring that avenue, and I’ve
been talking to Animal Supply
because they have a fulfillment
center. By offering an online
store and using the Animal Supply catalog, our selections will
expand to 23,000 items, in addition to our in-store inventory.
What challenges are the pet
TB: In my opinion, it’s the price of
dog food. The independents carry
a lot of very high-end, pricey foods,
but they often don’t offer a product
that can be marketed to the value
customer. The dog food manufacturers are busy creating the next
greatest thing with all the bells
and whistles, and I believe they’ve
let the train get away from them.
What about the larger segment of
pet owners who can’t afford the
more expensive brands? I think
our greatest challenge is staying
relevant and affordable.
As a small business owner in
this industry, what are you
most proud of?
TB: We are so gratified by our involvement with the local shelter.
When we opened Pet Things, we
decided to choose this cause and
incorporate it into the fabric of
our store, and we have done that.
What do you see in the future
for Pet Things?
TB: We’ve been looking for a larger
location in Douglasville, and we are
kicking around the idea of opening
another store. However, in the long
term, we will continue doing what
we do here at Pet Things. It’s good
for the community.
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