Shop Small, Support Big Dreams!

Shop Small, Support Big Dreams!

This week, Teddy is exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest and made a pitstop at The Headstrong Hound with Grandma Lucy’s Northwest Territory Sales Representative, Brooke, to get the inside scoop on what makes independent pet and The Headstrong Hound so special. Owner, Emily, has a longstanding history in the pet industry and has gotten to know many aspects of it- from grooming and training to retail. Emily has animals in her blood, with family roots in champion dog breeding and horse training. While Emily always knew she wanted to open her own store, she did not know it would be so soon, but there’s no better time than the present to pursue your dreams!

greyhound eating organic oven baked treat

Q: How long have you been in the pet industry?

A: “Since 2016. I started working at Sit Means Sit as a kennel attendant, and I liked working with dogs, but…that just wasn’t for me. Then after that… I got hired by Kriser’s, and I was with them for a while. Then I moved up here and started working at a small, independently owned pet store up in north Portland… Then I started working for Petsmart, and now I’m here!”

Q: What about the pet industry first interested you?

A: “Definitely the animals…and my family. My grandma [is a] dog breeder, so definitely going to the shows…was my first introduction to [the] pet industry. There’s a section where there’s vendors and… I always loved walking through there.”

Q: What made you choose to carry Grandma Lucy’s?

A: “My first introduction to Grandma Lucy’s was at Kriser’s in Southern California in Newport Beach, and we were training and…learning about [Grandma Lucy’s and] I really loved that it was freeze-dried, but it wasn’t raw. Every time I saw freeze-dried it was always raw. Which I love, but I liked that there was a different option; a more home-cooked style [food.] And price point wise I liked that…[Grandma Lucy’s] was more accessible [thank the other competitor I knew of.]”

Q: What is your favorite part of being in the pet industry?

A: “Definitely getting to see…the latest things going on [in] pet nutrition because I’m a little bit of a nerd for that, and getting to see people’s pets every day. Especially getting to see them young, and then get older…it’s really cute to see that. And making connections with people who have similar interests.”

Q: What do independent pet stores bring to pet parents that big box stores don’t?

A: “Definitely the personal touch… we get to know people’s dogs. [We] get to know their stories and…have an idea of what they’re looking for every time they come in. There’s definitely a personal connection and it’s way more of a personal investment.”

grandma lucy's bags displayed on shelves

Our independent pet retailers are a vital and invaluable resource, providing education and compassion to pet parents that is often hard to find at big box stores. Thank you to Emily for serving our pet community with such passion and knowledge. Stop by The Headstrong Hound the next time you’re in Portland, Oregon and shop small- each time you do you’re supporting a big dream! Tune in to see where our journey takes us next, and let us know if you think your local shop should be featured!


Danielle Contreras