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A holistic approach to pet care and management.

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Fetch RI , RICHMOND, RI

OWNER: Johnna Devereaux; URL:fetchri.com; FOUNDED: 2014; OPENED FEATURED STORE: 2017; EMPLOYEES: 4 part-time; AREA: 1,500-square-foot retail, 850-square-foot The Fetch Room; FACEBOOK: FetchRI; INSTAGRAM: FetchRI


FETCH RI OCCUPIES a Colonial-style house built in 1908. Much about the property appealed to Johnna Devereaux when she was looking to grow her pet business in 2016.

The land spans a half acre in Richmond, RI, and groundbreaking herbalist Heinz Grotzke founded Meadowbrook Herb Farm and formulated all-natural remedies there for decades. Devereaux has been studying the healing properties of herbs since she was 15, with one of her mentors being Susan Clements, who once taught at the farm.

She loved the house.

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“It was so charming. With the wide-plank wood floors and different rooms, it had this aura of quaintness.”

Devereaux did have one reservation, though.

“The doorways were 15 inches wide. I didn’t see how a Great Dane and human would fit through them together.”

After the landlord agreed to make that change, there was just one last requirement before she would sign the lease: Diego and Lola, her rescued American Stafford Terriers, had to approve.

“The second they arrived, they were chill,” Devereaux recalls, which was unusual for them in a new place. “That’s the soul of the house and the property — holistic and supporting of the mind, body and spirit. It’s been cleansed by all of the herbs.

Fetch RI reopened there in February 2017.

A Holistic Approach to Petcare

Johnna Devereaux and her American Staffordshire Terriers, Diego and Lola.

A clinical pet nutritionist, Devereaux performs in-depth assessments of dogs and cats, regularly consulting with their veterinarians, and makes diet recommendations. She carries only the highest-quality food and treats, among them Small Batch and Bones & Co., all made in the USA and meeting her exacting ingredient standards: no artificial ingredients, chemical preservatives, wheat, corn, soy, propylene glycol or plastic.

Animal Essentials serves as the backbone of Fetch RI’s supplements section, but Devereaux’s own products take up a significant amount of shelf space. Salves and teas help restore balance to the body, contain ingredients from her own gardens and are made in her at-home apothecary.

“I’m sensitive to where herbs come from, whether or not there are heavy metals in the soil, so I grow my own. I make salves for wound care and paw protection, and hot spot remedies. I also formulate teas because I’m a huge advocate of adding water to a dog’s food, and it’s another way to deliver herbs.

“If we’ve interfered somehow and interrupted an animal’s system, I provide tools to help the body heal itself.”

She also offers products and services that help to rebalance the mind and spirit. Toys and puzzle games will engage a bored pup, as will a session in The Fetch Room.

Devereaux converted the detached garage into an 850-square-foot private play space in 2018. Lola served as inspiration.

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“She was friendly, had met more than 100 dogs, but then got bit on the nose at the store. It was traumatizing for her, and now Lola is dog-reactive. As someone who had a dog I suddenly couldn’t take anywhere off-leash other than our backyard, I understood and wanted to help others in the same predicament.”

The Fetch Room features a rubberized floor and has agility and nosework equipment at the ready. Customers can rent it by the half hour for $25 or the hour for $45. In addition to giving reactive pups a place to let loose, it attracts those without fenced yards and people who don’t like dog parks. The climate control also makes it a popular destination during hot, cold and/or wet weather.

Like-minded trainers also use the space to hold classes throughout the week.

“I want Fetch RI to be a truly holistic destination. Good health is not just about nutrition, but also positive physical and mental stimulation.”

A Holistic Approach to Management

Joining pet parents and their pups in the training classes are Devereaux and her staff. She wants them to not only understand what services Fetch RI has available, but also to enrich their relationships with their own dogs. She provides a variety of such perks.

“I’m blessed to have a phenomenal team of employees. I want them to want to keep working for me. I buy them lunch or dinner at least twice a month. We have bonding experiences. I recently took them to Six Flags, and we rode roller coasters and played games and ate whatever we wanted. To keep a good team, you have to supplement their wages in ways that are meaningful to them.”

PHOTO GALLERY (9 IMAGES)

Five Cool Things About Fetch RI

1. ALL ARE WELCOME: The store’s 1,500-square-foot multiroom layout allows customers with reactive dogs to steer clear of others. During slow periods, Devereaux will even post an employee at the door so that a reactive dog can have the place to himself. “We want the experience to be the same for all of our customers. We want them to understand how much we care about their pets.”

2. LET’S PART-Y: The Part-y Bar measures 12 feet and offers just about any body part safe for dogs to devour. (Get the name now?) There are also supplies for celebrations, from birthday bandanas and hats to cake mixes and bakery items.

3. A FORAGING SHE GOES: Devereaux recently took a foraging course so she could learn how to find herbs and other ingredients not growable in her gardens. Among them: seaweed for salves. “I go out in the ocean and forage at low tide. It makes me so happy.”

4. SAY CHEESE: More than 1,000 Polaroids of canine and feline visitors hang on the store’s Wall of Fame.

5. TEST DRIVE: Devereaux says, “We go beyond selling customers what they came in for — and help them make the right choice for their pet. For instance, when a customer comes in looking for a harness, we encourage them to bring their dog in so we can fit the harness on the dog — because if it doesn’t fit right, it won’t work right. We encourage the owner/dog pair to try a few varying harnesses so they can see which works best. We allow the duo to ‘test drive’ the harnesses on the grounds of Fetch RI for a real-life scenario with cars driving by and distractions.”

Pamela Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Spot the senior Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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FEATURED VIDEO

Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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