member of that age group myself, I’ve adjusted our
purchases to products that I like instead of what I
think Grandma might like.”
“Think bright colors and sleek designs,” she
added. “Millennials are looking for function and
style at the same time.”
Customer service is another cornerstone to the
Odyssey Pets ideology, and sought-after charac-
teristics in a staff member include enthusiasm,
curiosity and an interest in learning, combined
with the ability to relate to customers in an en-
“We want people who are excited to forge relationships with our customers,” Sherry said. “We
also look for a passionate love of animals, whether
it be dogs and cats or fish.”
CALLING ALL AFICIONADOS
A cutting-edge array of saltwater and freshwater
fish awaits hobbyists who travel far and wide to
peruse Odyssey Pets’ 2,500-square-foot aquatics department. An enthusiast since childhood,
Doan has been involved in every aspect of the
industry and places a strong emphasis on the
knowledge and expertise required to cater to this
Aficionados monitor the ever;evolving inventory by following “The Fish Room at Odyssey Pets,”
a Facebook page that is separate from the store’s
“We post pictures or list shipments on this
page,” Sherry said. ;;e have a lot of ;fish nerds; out
there that want the freshest and the best, and this
way our dog customers are not looking at a long list
of fish in their newsfeed.”
A full-time maintenance technician keeps cus-
tomers’ in-home installations in tip-top condition.
“We are very specialized and are kind of the
go-to service company for coral reef aquariums,”
Associates in the fish department generally
come on board with some prior experience.
“It’s a knowledge-intense industry dependent
on passionate, well-informed people, and while
an employee doesn;t have to be totally fish knowledgeable to come to work in our fish department,
they do have to be interested in fish,” ;oan said.
;;e definitely look for some e;perience and interest, and we are able to expand on that.”
GROOM AND A HAIRCUT
While grooming has been in the mix of services
from day one, the 2014 move to the larger space allowed for the design of a state-of-the-art grooming
facility. Included in the innovations is a separate,
cage-free drying room. Not only is fur and dryer
noise encapsulated in the enclosed area, but odor
is also minimized throughout the rest of the store.
“We want to make sure our store always smells
good, and there is a fan in the ceiling that actually
sucks the hair out of the room,” Doan said. “The
concept came from one of our master groomers.
Our employees bring us a lot of good ideas.”
In addition to raised tubs, a walk-in shower
accommodates larger dogs, and a bathing system
efficiently mi;es shampoos.
Groomers greet each client upon arrival, allowing relationships to develop between pet owner and
“When a customer asks for a certain groomer,
we honor that request,” Sherry said.
Grooming maintenance tips or nutritional remedies are often discussed during these meetings.
STAY FOR THE NIGHT
The increase in square footage at the new facility
also allowed for an expansion of day care offerings.
Today, while pint-sized pooches still frolic at the
register, more sizable canines romp in their own
IT’S A RETAIL LIFE
What is Odyssey Pets best known for?
Mike Doan: Our customers often find Odyssey Pets
through word-of-mouth, having been told that we
offer great food and products or the best groom.
We are known as one of the best places in Dallas,
and we strive to stand up to that reputation.
Greatest challenge for pet retailers today?
Sherry Redwine: The online retailers. A few
months ago, I went through most of our inventory
and found an entire brand of products being sold
at or below our cost. I replaced that line with a
similar product at a better price, one unavailable
online. I search out brands that are dedicated to the independent pet retailer.
Greatest challenge for the pet industry?
Mike: It’s media—the screens in hands of kids. We have got to realize that when
children aren’t going outside, when they are not playing with kittens, puppies,
rats, mice, snakes or birds, when they are just playing with their phones, that
phone is their new pet. The industry is not seriously looking at this huge problem.
Interesting industry trends?
Mike: We are seeing a trend toward sustainable coral propagation. Two-thirds
of the Great Barrier Reef bleached this year, and that is a massive issue.
Inadvertently, the reef aquariums in homes and apartments have become the
coral bank of the world.
Goals looking forward?
Mike: We are focusing on making our store and our staff bigger, better and
stronger in order to serve our community in the best way possible.
BUBBA DOES ODYSSEY PETS
In the face of his identity crisis, Bubba Scott is managing quite well. The diminutive 8-year-old Shih Tzu mix considers himself human, and, as such, thinks
shopping at Odyssey Pets is the bomb.
“I adopted Bubba seven years ago, and he really thinks he is a person,” said
his owner Cassandra Scott. “He’ll actually browse up and down the aisles, and
if something has been moved, he knows.”
Scott began shopping at Odyssey Pets when Bubba entered her life. In
addition to purchasing healthful foods and product, she takes advantage of the
day care and grooming facilities.
In fact, Bubba is quite proud of his distinction as the store’s first day care
“Bubba needed someplace to go while I worked,” said Scott, a self-em-
ployed medical esthetician and film and television makeup artist. “At the time,
Odyssey Pets didn’t have a day care facility per se, but Mike and Sherry agreed
to let Bubba stay behind the counter with their dog Martel.”
Since that time, the Scott family has expanded to include Bali, a Chihua-
hua/Maltese mix, and Pumpkin, a once-feral cat. Pumpkin adopted Bubba
several years ago, initially trailing along on walks before eventually coming
inside to enjoy life as a full-fledged furry “sibling.”
As a long-time customer of Odyssey Pets, Scott said she appreciates the
fact that for this family-owned endeavor, the health and wellness of four-
legged customers transcends profit margins.
“I think their love of animals makes Odyssey Pets competitive in our
saturated market,” she said. “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, concern for animals
is more important than the dollar.”
Scott’s confidence extends to product selection. From toys to food, she
said she feels she can rely on the research done before an item ever sees the
sales floor. Further, the retailer’s knowledgeable, pet-loving staff plays a strong
role in engendering that trust.
“They do not hire anyone that doesn’t truly love animals,” she said.
For these reasons, Scott wholeheartedly endorses Odyssey Pets in her own
“I am comfortable recommending Odyssey Pets to my clients, and for
every person that I refer, those people send more customers,” she said. “Pet
parents love going to Odyssey Pets. It’s so easy to shop there.”
Mike Doan and