[attach]4273[/attach]Two Upper Beach residents have opened a pet store on the cusp of India Bazaar at Gerrard and Coxwell avenues, an area they say is in desperate need of a local pet shop.
“It was really important for us to be on this corner,” says Kym Hyde, co-owner of Furballs Pet Stuff at 1618 Gerrard St. East.
“The area is just full of dogs and cats.”
Hyde and business partner Eva Eiduks opened their store in March, selling food and accessories mainly for dogs and cats and focusing on high quality food such as grain-free products and even raw food.
The emphasis on good pet nutrition, and to an extent the idea for the business, came out of a shared experience with Hyde’s seven-year-old golden lab, Ceilidh, who Eiduks used to walk through her dog-walking business.
When Ceilidh was diagnosed with cancer, Eiduks and Hyde say they learned a lot about quality pet food and were able to extend Ceilidh’s life for several months through a nutritional diet.
In the summer, when the three of them would take long walks on the Beach, Eiduks and Hyde would talk about the idea of a pet shop. Ceilidh died in November, and in January they decided to jump right in and find a space.
Hyde, who used to work in TV animation, says she mapped out all pet shops in the east end and saw a lack in the Coxwell and Gerrard area.
“This particular corner was in the middle of a big hole.”
Both partners live just a few blocks from the shop and say they see dogs everywhere.
Eiduks, who used to work for The Shopping Channel, still does dog walking in the mornings. Sometimes in the afternoons she’ll bring in a group of small dogs she walks, dubbed The Squirt Squad, and they’ll hang out in the shop.
“We’re really a community store,” she says.
“We need more little shops like this.”
For now they’re starting small, says Hyde, but the goal is to expand into a larger space that will enable them to do grooming.
The biz partners alternate running the store, which they say is becoming a community hub for dogs and their owners.
They’re becoming so well known by local pooches for the liver treats they hand out that dogs are finding their own way to the shop, Hyde says.
“We see people being dragged across the street to the store.”