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Funky & Fun

Brooke Busch has built a unique experience for pets and their people, one that makes the store a weekly destination and a regular sight on social media.



Furbaby Pet Boutique and Biscuit Bar, San Antonio, TX

OWNER: Brooke Busch; URL:; FACEBOOK:; INSTAGRAM:; FOUNDED: 2020; LOCATIONS: 1; AREA: 1,200 square feet indoors, 1,200 square feet outdoors; TOP BRANDS: P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You), Bosco and Roxy’s, Bowser Beer, Big & Little Dogs, Ripley & Rue, The Dapper Paw, Kit Kat Clocks, Parisian Pet, Mimi Green, Eat Play Wag, Trill Paws, Two Tails; EMPLOYEES: 1 part-time

BROOKE BUSCH UNDERSTANDS well the concept of experiential retail. In fact, she built Furbaby Boutique and Biscuit Bar in San Antonio, TX, around it. Whether a private Barkday Pawty in the store’s backyard, an extra-special treat from the Ice Cream Pawlor or a photo session in the ever-changing Pawparazzi Booth, Busch offers all of her customers — pets and their people — a uniquely fun time that keeps them coming back for more.

“The key to our success is the customer experience,” Busch says. “That’s what sets us apart.”

It also allowed Furbaby to reach six figures in revenue within a year of opening, in 2020 no less, with annual growth since coming in at a healthy 10%.

Congratulations From One of Your Top-Selling Brands

If She Built It

Busch was teaching English to middle schoolers when the pandemic hit. After everything shut down, she decided to open her dream boutique in Floresville, a small city southeast of San Antonio where she and husband Terry live.

“There was nothing around that was pet-oriented,” Busch recalls. “I thought there was an opportunity to provide cool stuff for dogs and also be a place where kids could go because there was nothing for them to do.”

Her husband and friends thought she was crazy — they didn’t believe people would pay someone to host a birthday party for their pet.

“But I had a ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality,” Busch says. “That if I built it, they would come.”

And they did, not only locals but customers who would drive 45 minutes from San Antonio to visit Furbaby. In 2021, Busch relocated the store to a 1,200-square-foot house with a 1,200-square-foot backyard in the much larger city.

“Now we are carving out our super-unique niche on the south side of town,” she says. “We are proud to offer a ‘Heavy Petting’ experience like no other — an environment where we dote on pets and create fun opportunities, which are so incredibly important in today’s world.”

Customers like their dogs to be the first to try on new arrivals at the store, as Brooke Busch takes photos of them modelling that she uses to market the clothes on social media.

Customers like their dogs to be the first to try on new arrivals at the store, as Brooke Busch takes photos of them modelling that she uses to market the clothes on social media.

Funky & Fun

Busch recruited friends, many of whom are artists, to help create her current space, which she designed herself.

“I get bored in sterile stores,” Busch says. “I like funky. I wanted something no one had ever seen before, and I wanted everything to be Instagram-worthy.”

Furbaby’s bright blue exterior and graffiti-inspired sign are hard to miss, and every room was designed to wow with color and to ensure that pets have space to play, eat and be photographed. The Paparazzi Room features custom-built sets and props that are rotated at least twice a month. Another room has a Try-It-On Table so customers can do exactly that with clothes from The Dapper Paw and Parisian Pet as well as collars and harnesses from Big & Little Dogs, Mimi Green and Eat Play Wag, among other brands. The backyard transforms into a private and public event space where pups and their people can mingle. Busch also invites vendors, free of charge, to set up out front on the weekends.

“It was important to make people desire to come in simply because it’s such a cool-looking place,” she says.

Retail areas feature bold colors and prints on the walls and fixtures. Busch sticks to a product lineup of clothing for humans and pets alike, toys that suit the Furbaby’s fun vibe, such as from P.L.A.Y., gourmet cookies from Bosco and Roxy’s and bulk biscuits, and items in other non-food categories.

“I carry a ton of local because I look at it as a pet collaborative, since small businesses are not being carried at Petco or PetSmart,” she explains, adding.

“I look at my store as if I am the Willy Wonka of dogs. I want it fun and bright and different. And my products fly off the shelves. People want unique.”


Indeed, the uniqueness extends throughout the Furbaby experience and helps it compete against online retailers, even though — or perhaps because — Busch does not offer ecommerce.

“That takes away from the shopping experience,” she explains. “People, kids and dogs are deprived of a lot of social experiences today. There are dogs that people got during Covid who have never been around other dogs or humans, but when they come into Furbaby, they get to meet them.”

Among the events where like-minded pet parents gather at her store are the previously mentioned Barkday Pawties in the store’s backyard. Busch charges $250 for 20 humans and 10 dogs, for use of a themed photo booth, treat bags, pup cones and music.

She also invites rescue groups and breed organizations to hold their meetings at Furbaby. She hosts free events at the store, as well, among them a recent Fur Twenty Pup In Smoke Event, just to bring in new customers.

Furbaby carries equally fun clothing and other products for people.

Furbaby carries equally fun clothing and other products for people.

Social Shopping

Busch describes her typical customer as someone who buys food from Chewy or PetSmart but visits Furbaby once a week for an outing with their pet.

“They come to see what’s new because they’re trendy. These are the dogs who have Instagram accounts.”

In fact, Busch has created her own army of free influencers.

“Whenever new shipments arrive, the first on the scene to purchase it becomes our model,” she says. “People actually race to the store to get first dibs because they know we carry small batches and things go quickly.”

Because of her success on social media, more than 8,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram, Busch doesn’t need to pay for marketing. Instead, she relies on her customers to promote Furbaby on her behalf.

So what’s next for the store? Busch plans to recreate the experience at a new and larger location this summer.


Five More Cool Things About Furbaby Pet Boutique and Biscuit Bar

1. ICE CREAM PAWLOR Last summer, Busch added an ice cream “pawlor” in a dedicated room at Furbaby. It was successful at attracting customers when people were hesitant to leave the comfort of their air-conditioned homes. On the menu: Peanut Butter, Goat Milk Blueberry, Goat Milk Pumpkin and top seller Maple Bacon.

2. THE SQUAD Furbaby has one employee, Victoria Guerrero. Busch describes her as “the Charlie Bucket to my Willy Wonka.” Also on the extended team are photographer Megan Bowling, pet portraitist Hannah Supranowicz, baker Elizabeth Renden, and Mysti Packard, who co-locates her Haughty Hounds Grooming in the building. All contribute in various ways to events and the store itself. Busch says, “I don’t charge or take a percentage from my friends’ small businesses. It’s a girl squad supporting each other and working collaboratively with a shared vision.”

3. CUSTOMER SUPPORT Busch gets help sourcing props for photo sets and the store. She says, “We rely solely on DIY for these projects. I have customers who literally see an abandoned children’s play refrigerator on the side of the street, who will pull over, bring it to the store and say: ‘I know you girls can make something fun with this.’”

4. PAWTY PLANNING Busch recently began offering the party planning services to customers in their homes. She creates themed parties and will customize all details for the guest of honor. One recent example: a “Amazing World of Gumball” party for a birthday Bulldog.

5. NEW CLOTHING LINE A next step for Furbaby is a custom clothing line for pets in partnership with Bowling. The brand name: Heavy Petting. They recently test-marketed items from the line at a local bar — and sold out on the spot.




P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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