A Shop to Bark About: Love Bug Pet Boutique
Nestled in Washington’s beautiful Snoqualmie Valley, Love Bug Pet Boutique is on a lifelong mission to educate pet parents so their fur-kids can live their best lives. Love Bug Pet Boutique has been proudly locally owned and women-owned and operated since owner, Phyllis, opened her doors in 2017. The shop sits between the historic downtown and the many beautiful hiking trails and natural wonders the area has to offer, like Snoqualmie Falls and Mount Si. Grandma Lucy’s Northwest Territory Sales Representative, Brooke, stopped by for a chat with Phyllis to learn what inspired her pet nutrition journey and how she continues to give back to pets and pet parents in her community.
Q: What made you decide to get into the independent pet industry?
A: “That’s a long [answer]! I just wanted to find a challenge for myself so I could learn and love my little pup that guided me down that path. It’s been a big adventure and the fact that I didn’t know a whole lot up front was actually part of why I wanted to do it-so I could [continue] to grow, as someone who wants to do lifelong learning.”
Q: What makes independent pet retailers so special?
A: “I feel like I get to help my customers in ways that maybe veterinarians are not quite adept at. I never try to put another profession down, but I just want to augment the knowledge for the customers so that they can make informed decisions [about their pet’s diet].
Q: What made you choose to carry Grandma Lucy’s?
A: “I was looking for another high-quality brand that would be convenient for people, especially [pet parents] who want to go hiking, they can take this [freeze-dried] food with them and be out on the trails longer. One of my customers likes to go [backpacking] for nine days at a time, so he needs a lightweight food option for his two pups.”
Q: What is your favorite Grandma Lucy’s treat?
A: “The blueberry [Organic Oven Baked Treats].”
Q: Which of Grandma Lucy’s food lines is your favorite?
A: “Well, beef is a big hit in my store, so I [have to say] the Macanna Beef! That’s very popular [with my customers].”
Q: What is your favorite part of being in the pet industry?
A: “The interaction with the dog lovers and [also] learning about cats, because I’m not [as] knowledgeable of a person in the cat realm, but I’m learning every day from all of my cat customers. That’s a joy for me as well!”
Q: Do you ever partner with any organizations in the community to help pet owners?
A: “We [have] a pet food bank donation bin…and once a month the [Snoqualmie Food Bank] comes to collect [donations], whether it was purchased [from] my store or brought from the customer’s home. It’s distributed throughout the Snoqualmie Valley, and the last tally I heard it was more than three hundred families that are involved in [the] program.”
Q: Why should more pet parents shop at independent pet retailers?
A: “The [big] box stores are very good at getting you through a line quickly, but they can’t [always] answer your [nutrition] questions if you have [a pet] with special circumstances [or a condition] you’re trying to solve.”
Q: What is the biggest trend you’ve seen in the pet industry recently?
A: “The [use of] human-grade ingredients is what I’ve noticed. People are looking for [human-grade] because they have a big sense of trust in those…products.”
Q: What changes have you seen since you first opened in 2017?
A: “Well, with the pandemic everyone got pets! It’s been more newcomers [to the pet world] with lots of questions so I try my best to either do the research online or seek out the guidance from different reps that come through my store so that I can help pass along that knowledge to the customer.”
Thank you, Phyllis and Love Bug Pet Boutique, for taking the time to chat with Grandma Lucy’s, and for all that you do for the pet community. Phyllis truly embodies what it means to be a lifelong learner, and her compassion for animals and others feeds her curiosity and hunger to never stop learning about the best ways to provide for our pets. Stay tuned to see where Grandma Lucy’s visits next, and let your local rep know if you have a store we should feature!