BY SKYLER, DEB & TIM SMITH
RESET ~ Last week we were visiting Johnny Belmont who gave us the background of how he came to be the owner of Mendon Pet Supply which is located on Mill Road in the hamlet. This week Johnny will tell us what sets his shop apart and share his best Mendon story with us.
UNIQUE QUALITIES ~ I asked Johnny if anything in particular sets Mendon Pet Supply apart from other pet stores. He said the fact that they are an independent store, and not part of a franchise like Petco or PetSmart, does give them the freedom to offer some products and services not available in the “big box” pet stores. They also have an in-store loyalty program which offers discounts to returning customers.
But the single aspect of Mendon Pet Supply about which Johnny is the most proud is the vast array of food options. And it’s not just quantity; it’s also quality. They hold themselves to nutritional standards above and beyond those of the “big box” stores. Part of what makes this possible, Johnny explained, is that some of the highest quality pet food producers consciously choose to deal exclusively with independent pet stores.
If you were given the challenge to predict the over/under number on how many different brands of pet food are offered here and you decided to hedge on the high side and say two dozen, you’d still be low. Mendon Pet Supply offers food from twenty-six different companies.
THE LATE SHOW ~ As we were saying our goodbyes at the checkout counter, Johnny’s cat, Reece walked toward the front door prompting me to ask, “Do the cats ever try to get out?”
“Funny you should ask,” replied Johnny, “the longest night of my six months in business occurred for just that reason. I often work late and one night when I was walking out the door at midnight, Reece darted outside. I tried luring him back in with food and toys, and using embarrassing ploys, but to no avail. Rather than leave him out all night, my animal-loving nature told me I needed to wait it out. So as not to wake up the entire hamlet with catcalls, I returned to the store and left the door open with a bowl of food on the inside.”
Knowing that, as an indoor cat, Reece was not expert at the hunting skills necessary to provide a full meal in the wilds of Mendon, his hunger would at some point exceed his stubbornness and sense of independence, and he’d return home for a welcome meal. My theory eventually proved accurate, but not until 2 am. While I do often work late, my personal best in this category is absolutely attributable to the escape of Reece. But of course, as the animal lover I am, Reece has been totally forgiven.”
If Johnny walks out his front door and gazes across the parking lot he can see the barn that sits behind the Cottage Hotel. That barn was built in 1896 to accommodate stagecoach horses and that will be part of the story I’ll share with you next week when we visit the fine folks at the Cottage Hotel.