Specialty Shopping in the Region
by Nancy E. McCarthy
Pets are cherished family members to many of us, and we spare no expense to keep them happy and healthy. American Pet Products Association reports that Americans paid a whopping $95.7 billion for pet products and services last year. Food and treats are the top category, but a sizeable chunk was also spent on beds, collars, leashes, toys, clothing, and other accessories.
There’s a plethora of distinctive pet supplies and goodies in the Finger Lakes Region, with many produced here, from practical to pampering to delicious. We love our creatures and our local pet-centered businesses. Here’s a look at some of them.
Good Eats and Treats
Enjoy delicious indulgences on site or to go at Woofies Gourmet Dog Bakery in Spencerport. Owner Cindy Ackerman uses quality, human-grade ingredients for her dog food line and canine confections, such as Barking Biscotti, Canine Cannoli, ground steak birthday cakes, and doggie ice cream. Visiting pups get a free cookie! In 2020, the shop added Coffee and Canines, a café featuring Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters beverages and baked goods for owners.
Bones Dog Bakery in Rochester offers house-made, allergy-friendly, natural dog treats and birthday cakes. Top dog favorites are Dognuts and Mini Pumpkin Muffins. “Our goal is to provide a place where people can have a fun experience with their pups,” says owner Dani Lawson. You can dine in or take out. Pet parents can enjoy an espresso bar and decadent desserts while dogs savor goats-milk Puppacinos and unlimited treat samples. This fall, Bones adds beet and pumpkin flavors to their retail line of premium dog biscuits.
Birds of a Feather
Paul Lewis, owner of Birds Unlimited, has sold birds and supplies in Webster for 30 years. Many are raised on premises. Popular species include cockatiels, quaker parrots and parakeets. You can also find exotic birds like the mighty hyacinth macaw, the largest of all parrots. The store sells cages, T-stands, playpens, assorted diets and treats, and has a 40-foot wall of toys! Best-seller Rainbow Rocket, a colorful shredding toy, comes in three sizes. “We recently added a large outdoor flight cage to give some birds some sunshine and exercise,” says Lewis, who also grooms and boards feathered friends.
The family-owned Exotic Pet Birds is in Webster, too. The Salafias raise and sell parrots exclusively – from small budgies to big macaws. The store grooms and boards, plus sells cages, toys, bird food, harnesses, and avian fashions for styling birds. Plans are in the wings for an Aviculture Education Center to house birds in open aviaries. Visitors can observe nesting parrots and their babies.
Walking in Style
Debra Sheen, proprietor of Bubba BowWow Boutique, designs and makes dog coats, fleece shirts, formal wear, and bow ties for tiny Chihuahuas to Great Danes. She sells them at her Affaire de Chocolat shop in Fairport, and through Etsy and her website. “Our pets give so much to all of us every day,” says Sheen. “They deserve to feel comfortable, cared for, and safe.” Best sellers are weather-resistant coats and the K9-Snuggly wrap. Most whimsical: gowns and tuxes for doggie weddings or pets attending human nuptials.
Polka Dot Tails in Ithaca sells made-to-order custom collars and accessories. Owner/designer Kristina Harrison sells them from Artist’s Alley, or through her website and Etsy. A portion of each sale goes to animal causes. Popular lines include Pop Culture, the Holiday Collection, and TLC collars that identify special needs such as blindness.
Bad Dog Boutique in Canandaigua, a division of Ontario ARC, provides unique shopping experiences for dog lovers and full-service grooming while creating jobs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Local handmade products include Bad Dog shampoo and biscuits, bandana collar covers, tug toys, and an aromatic lavender spritzer to calm your pup naturally. The boutique recently added an online store.
Amy and Pat Schiek own Lucky Dogs pet store in Skaneateles. “We are passionately committed to offering superior, healthy products and services,” says Amy. They stock many brands not found in big box chains, such as the kin+kind organic, natural line of shampoos, flea and tick spray, hot spot relief, and ear cleaner. Customers can buy quality dog and cat food, treats, toys, pet clothing, leashes, collars, gifts, and more. Many items can also be purchased through their website. Their companion business offers pet sitting, dog walking, and mobile grooming.
Salty Dog in Canandaigua began as a fish and dog product supply shop, but most of its business now is saltwater fish, corals, invertebrates, and aquarium supplies. The clownfish (think Nemo) is their best-selling fish. Co-owners Adam Dulski and Kyle Werder are saltwater fish experts who grow their own corals and offer services such as aquarium set-up and maintenance. “The best gift you can give to a new fish lover is a Coralife Biocube,” says Dulski. It’s a small, complete set to start your first saltwater aquarium.
One Stop Shops
Dave and Ann Neibert at Aristocats & Dogs Pet Boutique (ADPB) in Skaneateles sell canine and feline supplies, many made locally. “Auburn Leathercrafters has some awesome products that are popular with our customers,” says Ann. This family-owned business in Auburn manufactures dog collars, leashes, and pet harnesses. Best sellers at ADPB include leather Martingale collars and Sparky’s Choice waterproof collars for furry swimmers. Dogs love Bo’s Bones Dog Biscuits, gourmet treats from Etna, New York. Kitties are crazy for catnip toys sewn in Weedsport. Shelves are also stocked with national brands of food, supplements, beds, apparel, CBD products, bowls, and more.
Park Avenue Pets in Rochester is a full-service pet store supplying food and essentials for dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, lizards, hedgehogs, and tarantulas! They also sell some locally raised small animals (not puppies or kittens). Park Ave offers grooming, and trims cat claws or dog nails. “Pets are always welcome,” says owner Lisa Jacques. “Our store cat, Princess Bella, loves to meet all other furry friends!
More Information in Order of Appearance
Woofies Gourmet Dog Bakery
5087 Ridge Road West, Spencerport
Bones Dog Bakery
39 South Goodman Street, Rochester
1421 Empire Boulevard, Webster
Exotic Pet Birds
2138 Empire Blvd, Webster
Bubba BowWow Boutique
3 Railroad Street, Suite 6, Fairport
Polka Dot Tails
Artist Alley, South Hill Business Campus, 950 Danby Road, Ithaca
Bad Dog Boutique
84 South Main Street, Canandaigua
22 Jordan Street, Suite C, Skaneateles
145 South Main Street, Canandaigua
Aristocats & Dogs Pet Boutique
62 East Genesee Street, Skaneateles
Find Aristocats and Dogs Pet Boutique on Facebook
Park Avenue Pets
993 Monroe Avenue, Rochester