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After Four Years Doing Delivery, Pet Project Adds Retail

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 11:38AM
Pet Project Exterior Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

Pet Project's new retail store will take up part of Bark Avenue's space on Main street, between 5th and 6th.

It was while shopping for food for her then-recently-adopted dog Baron that Downtowner Nancy-Jean Carlson got her great idea. She was shopping for pet food in South Pasadena, where she noticed other neighbors had also made the trek to get food for their pets. She started up Pet Project at the end of 2006, offering delivery to local residents and offices.

Still, Carlson always had it in mind to find a brick-and-mortar space for her products. She gets her wish this Saturday, when Pet Project opens on Main street in space shared with Bark Avenue.

That's not to say that delivery didn't offer its advantages. "Even late hours, I could take care of them," she says. She delivered out of her loft space, with orders called or emailed in.

While Carlson had looked for a store space, this opportunity found her. "Bark Avenue approached me," she said. "Customers were coming to them, requesting they carry food." Clients picking their dog up from daycare liked the idea of grabbing food at the same time. "It seemed like a natural fit."

Carlson describes the store as "down-to-earth, no-frills, a good value, and friendly, very top-service oriented."

The store takes up about one-third of the Bark Avenue space, with bright orange contrasting with a white wall. Products for cats and dogs fill the shelves. The focus of the business will be to leave a small footprint, recycle, and keep a casual feel. She says she wants to help direct the community in the nutrition of their pets, and give them options. "I try to balance myself on that fine line, " she said.

The store will soft open this Saturday, May 1st. Carlson's face lights up as she explains some of the things she has planned for the shop, including some more painting and special signs for separate cat and dog sections. She'll be carrying many of the same cat and dog food brands her clients are familiar with -- Canidae, Taste of the WIld, Nutro, and Wellness products among others. However, she's also looking into carrying some lower price point items. "Being so near 5th and 6th Streets, there are a larger number of people living in the hotels, asking for lower cost pet food." She wants to provide nutritious food options at affordable prices for those that need them.

Asked about the proximity to other pet care retail, Carlson doesn't seem worried. "These are two different business clientele," she says, likening it to having three gas stations on the corner. "It's not a problem."

This new phase of her business is extremely exciting to Carlson. She's looking forward to the public interaction with the neighborhood. "Doing Pet Project from the warehouse is lonely. I love people and I look forward to spending more time with my customers."

Pet Project will be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 7pm and closed Sunday. Delivery will still be available. "From 7pm-9pm Monday and Wednesday.. and on Saturdays at the customers' convenience."

Pet Project / 545 S. Main / 213-595-4225 / @petprojectLA / petproject1@aol.com / petproject-losangeles.com

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