Michele Hobbs and Amanda Broughton may be the proprietors of Pet Wants
, a new pet-needs store now open at Findlay Market
in Stand 218, but there are quite a few more people who might feel a sense of ownership in the operation, too.
"There's Joe Thoman of JT Architects. This guy does a CAD drawing of what our store could look like using their wood. Kate Schmidt basically designed these [shelving] units for us. We've had friends offer to paint murals. The guys down at Underdog Wood
have agreed to cut and preassemble everything. I have no explanation for it but they say do good things and good things will happen to you. It's just good people doing good things. It's as basic as that."
In a venture that truly has a barn-raising feel to it, Hobbs and Broughton are looking to provide for an element of the downtown community that has helped them so much already: downtown pet owners and the animals they love. "I live downtown and some of the challenges are, we shop Findlay Market every week but have to drive five, ten miles to pick up cat litter or dog food," Hobbs explains. "And it's inconvenient. Findlay Market has the shoppers and everyone's going there to buy their own foods. To me it was a perfect fit."
Beginning with the location, everything about the business is stamped with local flavor -- figuratively and literally.
"We have a complete line of nutritionally balanced foods made in Ohio," Hobbs says. "It's made once a month so it's very fresh. There aren't any places you're going to find fresher food and keep the money in Ohio. All of it." There are even products for sale specific to the neighborhood.
"We partnered with local butchers at Findlay Market to make in-house pet jerky."
In an interesting wrinkle, Pet Wants is also throwing a proverbial bone to those who want to shop what Hobbs proudly describes as a locally-sourced, future-friendly business, but who might live outside the Findlay Market area. By offering a weekly subscription service for fifteen dollars that includes free delivery within five miles of the Market, Hobbs will serve pet owners -- with a twist. Deliveries will be handled by area cab drivers waiting through the slow midday hours, bolstering their revenue stream and harnessing a latent resource.
"There are cabbies lined up at 3pm with nothing to do," she says. "I'm going to keep these cabbies busy instead of sitting there idling."
In addition to the unique products and services, Hobbs said she and Broughton wanted to make the space one-of-a-kind, as well, from the salvaged and reconstituted wood from Underdog Wood, to an antique penny-pony ride out front. Pet Wants is clearly hungry to innovate, and Hobbs seems almost overcome by how hungry a diverse community of people and talents has been to help realize each new idea.
"I would lay in bed and think, Oh my god, this is really happening the way I envisioned it. I'm amazed."
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Writer: Jeremy MosherPhotography by Tiffani Fisher