Pet Supply Center: A Busy Hub for Low-cost, High-touch Pet Care Products
Apr 03, 2012 10:16AM
Kathy Kurzydlo, owner of Pet Supply Center at the intersection of Beneva and Webber in Sarasota, is one busy lady. The expansive shop, much larger than it appears from the outside in the busy strip mall, is part of a family business. Kathy’s father is the veterinarian and owner of Forest Lakes Animal Clinic, located across the street. Her mother and two of her sisters work at the clinic, and her son works for her. “We’ve been in the pet care business for nearly 40 years, and the store has been here for 20,” she said. “It’s great from both a professional and family perspective.”
Kathy is a certified veterinary nutritional consultant and, along with her staff, handles all the nutritional needs of their customers’ pets. The store was founded to offer a wide variety of natural and healthy pet foods to meet the unique nutritional needs of each customer’s pets. “This is very difficult to do in the constraints of a medical clinic,” she explained. “The store and the clinic are two different entities that share the same goal of giving the highest quality service and products at reasonable prices. And we love the location. We’re right in the middle of everything.”
Pet Supply Center offers a huge variety of pet products, from toys to wet and dry food to shampoos and flea and tick applications. The store carries 35 brands of super premium pet foods, including four different brands of veterinary diets. There is also a large selection of “people” products in a front-of-store boutique section that features everything from ornaments to picture frames, flowerpots and other decorative accessories with a pet-inspired vibe.
Kathy has carefully hired five staff members to help with the volume of customers. On any given day, at any given time, it’s not unusual to find five or six customers lined up patiently waiting to buy product while chatting with fellow customers. Many bring their dogs into the store, and, yes, there’s an occasional tangle of leashes. The staff knows most of the people and their dogs by name. Personal attention is one of the hallmarks of Pet Supply Center. The most important element, however, is the economy of cost. “We pride ourselves on old-fashioned, face-to-face customer service,” Kathy explained. “I made a conscious decision a long time ago that we would not let technology interfere with our face-to-face interaction with our customers. We do not have a website or conduct business by email, nor do we use a computer to calculate cost of purchases. Rather, our staff is focused on individual customer needs from the moment they walk into the store until the time we carry the supplies to their vehicle. This may be ‘old-school,’ but for me it’s the only way to do business.”
What it also does, of course, is keep costs down. “We have awesome prices,” Kathy said, matter-of-factly. “It is and always has been my goal to keep the cost of pet food and other items as low as possible. Nutrition, prevention and curative care should not be out of the reach of most people. Taking care of pets is expensive, and we do our part to make the prices as low as possible while still providing great products and exemplary service.”
The store is also a green business, where recycling is as much a part of the daily routine as any of the store’s multiple functions. All of the damaged or returned bags of pet food are donated to local shelters, with the Humane Society of Sarasota County being one of the larger recipients. “We donated over 5,000 pounds of pet food this past year,” Kathy said. “We don’t let anything go to waste. Because of our conscious approach to energy conservation and recycling, we have close to, if not perfect, a zero carbon footprint.”
Many of the toys and treats sold in the store are natural or organic. “We work with our customer’s pet’s different health issues such as urinary, kidney, skin and allergies,” she noted, “and help them tailor a nutritional program that fits their pet’s needs. We are very unique, not just in Sarasota, but in Florida for having the selection of foods that we carry.”
Kathy is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. She brought a strong background in retail prior to opening Pet Supply Center, which is evident in her eye for product displays and color. The organization of the store is efficient yet enticing. Customers are drawn into the store, with unique items at every turn. One wall is filled with dog leashes and accessories. Several of the walls feature toys for cats and dogs. There are products for birds in one section, and approximately 70 percent of the store is dedicated to food. The boutique area is designed like a small gift shop, with tastefully decorative displays of the whimsical pet-themed items. Behind the checkout counter are the pharmaceuticals, shampoos and other medical-related products. The store is immaculate, easy to navigate and cleverly designed, with each square inch of floor and wall space used to maximum advantage.
Store hours are 10am to 6pm Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm on Saturday; closed on Sunday. The address is 3558 Webber in Sarasota, in the middle of the mall at the southwest corner of Beneva and Webber.
With the Forest Lakes subdivision so close, and the intersection of these two main streets as its point on the map, Pet Supply Center is convenient and easy to access. As Kathy notes, right in the middle of everything.
For more information, call 941-925-4376.