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America's Coolest

Best of the Rest: Honorable Mentions

All winners!




Absolutely FishCLIFTON, NJ

This 5,000-square-foot aquaculture facility and store touts a collection of 20,000 species. Its annual Midnight Madness sale began in 2000 and now happens over the course of a weekend to accommodate more than 1,500 shoppers. Owner Patrick Donston has degrees in zoology and fish reproduction.

Bens’ Barketplace

Brad and Sally Romero learned to feed healthy, species-appropriate food with their own dogs, including Brad’s K-9 Ben, who won the 1999 Western States Police Canine Association’s Narcotics Detection Championship. He also inspired the store, which now sells more raw dog food than any other independent in California. The couple offers free in-store nutrition consultations, using a detailed questionnaire.


Flying M Feed Co.

This family business began as a feed-delivery service for Future Farmers of America members. It now spans 4,000 square feet of retail and socialization space for pets and their people. There’s even an aero/hydroponic farm that grows produce for both! Owner Trace Menchaca regularly goes live on Facebook to introduce new products and share goings-on at the store.

Furry Friends Inc.

A Shark Tank experience helped the Brookham family evolve their store into the boutique, grooming salon and treat truck it is today. They support National Mill Dog Rescue by making their private label Pet’s Healthy Choice food the only way to donate food online to dogs in the organization’s care.

Loyal Biscuit Co.

Heidi and Joel Neal bought the original Loyal Biscuit Co. because it was a fun place to shop. The couple has since opened four more locations and started toy and treat companies. They are still having fun: One of their employees acts as a real-life Elf on the Shelf during the holiday season!



When Wendy and John Megyese retired to a beach town, they found few places that welcomed their Cane Corso, Maya. So they opened this pet store and coffee shop. Customers can shop for supplies, then enjoy a Mastiff Mint Latte on the front porch while their dog laps up a Pup Cup. Rocking chairs and swings have carabiners for leashes, of course.

Notorious D.O.G.

Laura LaCongo and Jessica Mbugua use their years of experience as vet techs and pet business owners to choose only the best food, treats and other products for this store. The boutique aesthetic and smartly merchandised, regularly changing displays also attract pet parents.

The Big Bad Woof

Pennye Jones-Napier and Julie Paez believe food is medicine. In addition to stocking only high-quality food and treats, they source raw bones and organ meats from local farms. A 25-foot apothecary features holistic herbal supplements, homeopathic and natural remedies. The store also runs on electricity from 100 solar panels on its roof and holds Benefit Corporation status.

The Green K9

Marni and Paul Lewis do many cool things through their business. Just to name a few: They sell only high-quality, healthy and eco-friendly products. Every night, one of them stays with boarders, snuggling with special-needs dogs at no extra charge. Their foster pups get free day care and bathing services for life. They give banks their treats with business cards attached for drive-thru customers with dogs.



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