That Old Town Vibe
Pet Product News’ 2017-2018 Lifestyle and Boutique Retailer
of the Year winner provides a distinctive, personal shopping
experience in the heart of a historic Arizona neighborhood.
November 2017 Pet Product News International
BY LIZE TT BOND
In 2013, Denise Strong and her husband, Steve Strong, were enjoying breakfast at a café in the Old Town district of Cottonwood, Ariz., when they spied a sign that would not only prove life changing, but also bring Denise full circle and back to
“Steve and I looked across the street and noticed a ‘for lease’ sign in the window of a
building,” says Strong. “I was in real estate at the time, so, just for fun, we walked over
to check it out.”
Cottonwood had only recently become home for the couple, and they loved the
charm of the city’s Old Town district, located on Main Street. As they explored the build-
ing, built in 1924, Strong was captivated by the historic ambience of the 1,500-square-foot
space with its original tin-stamped ceilings and period chandeliers. Sensing her enthu-
siasm, Steve suggested she consider opening a real estate office there.
Strong, however, had other plans. At the time, she was heavily involved with
pet fostering in collaboration with Breeder Release Adoption Service, a rescue or-
ganization that rehomes dogs from commercial breeding facilities. Subsequently, a
passionate interest in the proper care and feeding of these animals ensued.
“I wanted to open a pet store that offered quality foods and to provide nutritional
information to the public,” Strong says. “And that’s exactly what we did.”
Opening and operating an independent retail store was a natural fit for Strong. She
enjoyed careers in the corporate world and as a real estate broker, but retail remained a
comfort zone to which she easily gravitated.
“My dad was a small business owner, and, as a child, I literally grew up in his nursery
and garden center in Virginia,” she says. “Even as a 5-year-old, I loved sitting on a stool
and running one of those old-fashioned cash registers.”
Opening a pet retail store would be like coming home, she thought. Strong decided
to name her fledgling endeavor Pawz on Main.
A FAST FORWARD LIFESTYLE
The venture began welcoming customers in February 2014. At the time, only a small portion of the retail floor was utilized for product display. Within the first year, however, inventory filled the entire 1,500-square-foot space. By year three, sales figures had tripled.
Beyond her background and experience, Strong attributes this growth to friendly,
Locations: 918 N. Main St., Suite B Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Co-owners: Denise and Steve Strong
Employees: owner operated
Years in business: 4
Square feet: 1,500
Products and services: Boutique, dog and cat foods and supplies, CBD hemp oil, adoption days, gift items, delivery,
price matching, fundraising fashion show
PAWZ ON MAIN AT A GLANCE
RETAILER LIFESTYLE & BOUTIQUE
co-owner of Pawz on Main
The store displays its products on wooden,
hand-carved shelving from India and
other unconventional furnishings.