Up Close and Personal
Pet Product News’ 2017-2018 Retailer of the Year, Mutts & Co., embraces a singular goal:
becoming the community’s leading pet wellness center, seasoned with a personal touch.
BY LIZETT BOND
Browse the “about” page of the Mutts & Co. website, and themes of community, pets as family and an emphasis on education are interwoven throughout. Indeed, Mark Vitt, co-owner of Mutts & Co., which has five stores in the Columbus, Ohio, area, embraces that philosophy and walks the talk. In describing the business,
which he co-owns along with his wife, Deborah, Vitt said the company focuses on a
unique, local community evolution while stressing the all-important personal touch.
“We are relatively small, local and family owned, so community is super important,”
Vitt said. “Our customers like a local success story and get behind a small business that
Far from the Midwest, the Vitts’ journey to Mutts & Co. commenced in the San Fran-
cisco Bay Area, where the couple rescued their first dogs, and a deepening passion for
pet nutrition and the plight of homeless animals ensued. At the time, Deborah enjoyed a
professional career as an executive at The Gap and The Limited, directing merchandise
and financial planning, while Mark’s career path led him to JPMorgan Chase as a mar-
In 2005, the Vitts relocated to the Columbus, Ohio, area.
“I’m from Ohio. We moved back to be closer to family, and to obtain land where our
children and dogs could run free,” Vitt said.
In the Bay Area, the couple frequented a pet supply store featuring healthful foods and
treats, self-serve dog washing facilities, friendly staff and a focus on community outreach.
However, a full-service facility of this nature was lacking in their new environs.
Further, Deborah had begun to question her career in the corporate world. Instead, she
longed to apply her business-centered acumen around a labor of love—pets.
“After our second child was born, Deborah started researching the pet industry, speaking with other small retailers,” Vitt said. “We felt this was truly an untapped market, and
after months of research and financial analysis, we found a space in Dublin, Ohio.”
THAT PERSONAL TOUCH
The 2007 launch of Mutts & Co. in Dublin, with its concept of healthful pet foods, education, supplies, full-service and self-serve grooming, and community focus, elicited an
Locations: Five in Ohio
Co-owners: Mark and Deborah Vitt
Years in business: 10
Average square feet: 4,000
Employees: 15 full time, 35 part time
Product and services: Dog, cat, and small animal foods and supplies, supplements,
bakery treats, adoption days, grooming, self-serve dog wash, Mutts Marketplace,
wellness clinics, Ask the Trainer, training classes
MUTTS & CO. AT A GLANCE
Mark and Deborah Vitt with Miley
The Mutts Marketplace area of the
stores feature The Pet Foundry,
a Mutts & Co. branded apparel line.