It’s hard to believe it was just over six weeks ago when I first told you about the plans to open CitiFid-O. In an incredibly short amount of time Paul and Terri Karlsson have transformed the vacated space into a a unique pet boutique for downtown, offering the only stop for premium pet products in the center city. When they said they hoped to be open in early April, they really meant it.
During those few weeks they navigated all the inspections and approvals necessary, located the vendors they wanted to use, ordered the items, built all the shelving personally, hired new workers and unloaded and placed all the product. Rarely do I write about a business that opens on schedule, but if I’d had to bet on someone it would have been this couple. They determine what they want to accomplish and relentlessly pursue that goal. And they are becoming an increasing presence downtown with the opening of their second business, following The Tree and Vine.
So what’s inside? It might be easier to talk about what’s not inside, but I can’t really name a product or a potential pet need (or desire) that isn’t represented. They have the basics, of course, including far more dog and cat food than I ever would have imagined they could stock. It is all high-quality and almost everything in store is local, if possible, or American made. They even found a source for American-made cloth chew toys which is nearly impossible.
Of course they also have treats, bowls, bedding of various sorts from the basic to the luxurious, items for the cats to scratch and the dogs to chew. They have a dog-friendly Frisbee, deer antlers for chewing (sold by the ounce). Their dog treats are edible for humans and made by a chef in Asheville. Going to the lake for a little boating? They have flotation devices for pets as well as floating throw toys for their retrieval canine pleasure.
Want more? They can wear the colors of your favorite SEC school (hint, it doesn’t have to be the local one). A bandanna doesn’t say enough school spirit for you? Try their UT cheer dresses. Training your pet but concerned about those calories that mount as you feed them treats and the way they smell those treats and try to chew into your pocket? They’ve got lick-able treats coming in at only one calorie per ten licks. That’s a lot of training per calorie! And it closes up to stop any odor and thus preserve your pockets.
Of course, they know they are in a city and they’ve provided for all your city needs, from a colorful array of various-sized leashes to your pee-patch for those snowy nights. But, naturally, it isn’t just any pee-patch. It solidifies the waste into a handy tray which is easily discarded into a trash can. They also have flush-able bags for solid waste.
Paul and Terri are always community-minded and that is reflected in several ways inside their shop. The comic pet paintings you see photographed here are the work of Mike Taylor of Doodlewags. Sherry Disney of Gallery Nuance suggested his work and it was a perfect fit. It is for decoration, yes, but every piece you see is for sale and he’ll personalize one using your pet if you ask. Back beside the dog food you’ll also find several banner-sized pet portraits taken and hung by John Black Photography just down the street. They would be happy to schedule a session for you yours. John Black is also hosting a golden retriever event on May 1.
I’ve said before that I knew when I walked into The Tree and Vine that it would be a success. This place has the same feel. I understand that some people open a shop to feed their passion for a certain product or service, but Paul and Terri enjoy retail, which they consider a service, and they approach each new venture from the perspective of the customer, asking “What does the downtown customer want and need?” rather than simply opening a business to do what they want. It’s a different perspective that has likely landed them a second flourishing business.
Come see them this weekend while you are downtown for the Rossini Festival. Pop over to the FB Page and show them some love with a “like,” if you like what they are doing. They will have a booth for both stores at the International Biscuit Festival. Their regular hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 7:00 and on Sundays they are open from 11:00 – 6:00.