Walk in the door at Green Dog Market on Route 4 and you’ll be greeted by Chester, an 8-month-old golden retriever, recently rescued from the South. In many ways, Chester represents what the store, opened last month by Chester’s owners Paul and Ann Fyer, is all about – hope for a healthier, sustainable future.
The Fryers, who live in West Hartford, got Chester after losing another beloved golden retriever to cancer. Soon after, they opened Green Dog Market, an all-natural, eco-friendly dog and cat supply store in Farmington center.
“We’ve always been green people and we wanted to give dogs a green life, too,” Paul said recently from behind the counter at the store.
The products the pair offers are good for pets and good for the environment, hopefully helping to keep everyone healthy, Ann said.
“It’s higher nutrition, better quality to hopefully avert any possible health issues,” she said. “The lower level impact you can make, the better it’s going to be for all of us – that’s why it’s our passion.”
Paul and Ann now live in West Hartford, but had previously moved around the country, gathering ideas from green pet stores along the way. Still, Green Dog Market is also a testament to innovation.
Paul made the cash desk from recycled tennis balls and a pair of pendant light fixtures from dog food bowls. He also made food bowl stands from recycled materials and leashes from recycled plastic rope.
The floor is made of cork, shelving from locally sourced pine and the walls bathed in low-VOC lime paint.
The store is stocked with all kinds of pet supplies: dog and cat food, cat litter, dog and cat supplements and treats, toys and beds for dogs, collars and brushes, grooming products and flea and tick products and raw dog food.
The couple avoided plastic products unless, like a Frisbee at the store, they’re likely to last a very long time.
Beyond supplies, the couple also offers help and information for those searching for help and wondering how natural food can affect their pets’ health.
The couple has partnered with animal nutritionist Mark Poveromo, author of “To Your Dog’s Health” and owner of Thomaston Feed. The partnership allows the couple to keep their prices as low as and in some cases lower than those at chain stores like Petco, Paul said, because Poveromo purchases in high volume.
It also gives them constant access to Poveromo’s expertise.
“He’s been such an inspiration and a help to us,” Ann said, adding that she’s learned a great deal about preventative medicine and the effects of better nutrition. “The opportunity to pass that on is great. I wish we had that information years ago.”
Many of their new customers appreciate the help.
“Every other customer who comes in has questions. It’s more than I thought,” Paul said, after a lengthy discussion with a woman about controlling her dog’s diarrhea.
The couple offers a spectrum of options – from natural traditional pet food to raw – and they understand not all of it is for everyone.
“There’s so much we don’t know longterm about the effects of chemicals and plastics. And it takes time to explore the parts of your daily life and changing everything isn’t practical. But we want to give people choices they can feel good about,” Ann said.”
Green Dog Market, at 784 Farmington Ave, Farmington, is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.