Donna Holick and Charlotte Peters love animals. They love animals so much they decided to open a store just for them called Whiskers Barkery in Prescott.
Holick is no stranger to the business. She has been doing it since age 16, when she worked for a local pet store. Then she had her own shop for 20 years and later worked for a pet-related corporation.
Peters is retired from the Longshoreman’s Union out of Long Beach, Calif. They had visited the Prescott area for years and finally moved here permanently two years ago and opened the store.
“Charlotte had always wanted to do this and never had the opportunity. I had the experience,” Holick said.
Whiskers Barkery is in downtown Prescott. It is a store for toys and treats for cats and dogs.
Holick said they love it when people bring their pets into the store and they always have treat samples out for the animals.
“People are embarrassed when something happens on the floor, but that is why we put in the tile floor. Dogs are always welcome and the tile floor can take it,” Holick said.
Customers are also welcome to come in and meet their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Ruby and Pearl, who are the store’s mascots and join them at work frequently.
“They get more days off than I do,” joked Peters.
Peters said the business used to be a mom and pop franchise.
“They were destined to go large and we wanted to stay small in the community,” she said. “That is why we opened the store. It’s such a dog-friendly area. We wanted to get involved in the community and the animal charities. We saw there was a need and we wanted to give back.”
By pulling out of the franchise, the amount they were paying for franchise fees goes into the Whiskers Barkery Foundation that supports local animal charities in the Prescott and Yavapai County area. Their favorites are the Yavapai Humane Society, United Animal Friends and Miss Kitty’s Cat House.
They also donate two percent of everything sold at the store to their charities, as well.
“We feel blessed to have a business, especially in this economy,” Holick said.
Holick and Peters have owned Whiskers Barkery for about two years and during that time, they have learned one thing for sure.
“The next time we have an ice cream social for the dogs, we’re moving it out back,” said Holick. “The dog ice cream comes in little cups. Dogs don’t know how to hold a cup, so they kept turning them over and stepping in it. They were sliding all over. It was almost like ice cream finger painting on the floor. We are definitely moving that one outside.”
The ice cream social was one of their monthly Yappy Hours for pet owners and their dogs.
“We have treats for the dogs and dog games and treats for the people,“ Holick said.
Each Yappy Hour has a theme that ties it all together for the dogs and their people. In the case of the ice cream social, there was also ice cream for the humans.
Other events feature other treats.
“We feature a local restaurant each time so that people can try a local restaurant they haven’t tried before. It’s all free and the fourth Friday of the month, which coincides with the downtown art walk.“
She said there can be as many as 40 or 50 people and their pets during the Yappy Hours.
“There are more in the summer. We do have a back patio we open up for the summer months,” Holick said.
Holick said the fun part of the business is the toys and treats, but they also sell collars, leashes, apparel, travel items, bed, pet strollers, supplements and remedies, brusher, odor remover and much more. There is also a five-foot bakery case stocked with special treats for pets.
“The gals that do our dog cookies are great,” Holick said.
The biggest sellers in their store are durable dog toys and a treat called Pure Bites that comes in beef, liver and cheese flavor. QCBN
Whiskers Barkery is at 225 W. Gurley Street in Prescott. It can be reached by calling 928-776-8700 or by visiting www.whiskersbarkery.com