Why did you open up an Independent Pet Store? Is it something you always wanted to do?
When we (Julie & Steve) were younger and raising our first dog together, we did what we saw done as children and what our vets recommended regarding feeding and medication. Our wonderful chocolate lab, Java, was the light of our lives and did not seem to mind the huge bags of dry kibble we fed him. Unfortunately, as he grew older, lick granulomas, renal failure, and eventually dementia and cancer made his life less than ideal. By the time Java was 12, we had another 6-year-old dog, Ouzo, and we started to change our thinking about how we were taking care of our furry friends. We read many books and started figuring out what info on the web was worth the pixels with which it was printed. Julie began supplementing with homemade real food, which Ouzo loved, and eventually moved to feeding only that. Soon, friends were asking for batches for their dogs. We “discovered” that real food is good for real dogs! This seemingly simple fact was not well known in our community and those that did know had trouble balancing the diet to provide everything their dog and/or cat needed. We realized an injection of real food information in our Colorado Rocky Mountain community was sorely needed. With that, Steve decided to leave his long-time job (later convincing Julie to do the same) and, in October 2014, Fresh Tracks Pet Shoppe was born.
What do you feel is unique about your store?
We provide our customers with greater insight into their pets’ food needs by providing information on their Glacier Peak Stress tests that compare the results with the foods we carry. It has given us the opportunity to provide a wide range of foods that accommodate even the most sensitive tummies.
While perhaps not uncommon in urban areas, our retail commitment to exclusively healthy and high quality foods and natural supplements, with an extensive frozen raw selection, is somewhat new to our rural mountain community.
We also pat ourselves on the back for being consistently complimented on our very clean “spa-like” self-serve pet wash stations.
What seems to be the main concerns of the pet parents that walk into your store?
First time customers are often concerned with a pets’ lack of interest in existing food, loose stools, itchiness, or aches and pains from extreme exertion at high altitude. These folks come in because a friends’ dog has been helped by a natural supplement or a raw diet from our store and they are interested in getting similar results.
Do you have a success story to share about how the GPH Pet Wellness Life Stress Scan and/ or products have helped a dog or cat get back into balance?
We have a hard time picking one specific story to highlight as there are too many success stories to single out one. We are thanked every single day by our customers for the positive changes that the Glacier Peak Stress tests have had in their pets’ lives. Not only does it create happier and healthier pets but it is a plus to our customers’ wallets when they can make the switch to a food that keeps their pet strong and vital, thus lowering vet bills.
Do you have a Holistic Vet that you refer people to if needed?
Dr. Susan Klein with Alpine Meadows Animal Clinic of course!! And her awesome and essential assistant Celina Suazo!
Do you work with any local animal charities?
Wild Animal Sanctuary, Team Leo Animal Rescue, Vail Valley Humane Society
What are your plans for the future?
We have many ideas in our heads, so one will just have to wait to hear about the very exciting story that unfolds next!