#shopsmall #shoplocal #smallbizsaturday #welovelocal

The Holiday Season is among us! Yes... I know... many of you hate this time of year, and many of you actually loathe those of us that enjoy celebrating the Christmas season beginning the day after Halloween. Christmas has been my favorite time of the year since I was a child, and all these years later it's still my favorite time of the year. There's something magical about it!

Holiday shopping is starting, and soon we will be moving in to the Christmas rush as Black Friday and Cyber Monday hits. Our e-commerce provider is already reminding us of these two events. The one thing I'm not seeing a lot of is #shopsmall Saturday. I personally think that #shopsmall should be for every day of the week, but it actually does have it's own shopping day, just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Have you ever really thought about what small business is offering that you simply can't get in the big box stores? That's my “rant” for the week. It's actually not really a rant, but rather informational. There are many places right in your back yard that provide products and services that you may not even know are there. We encourage you to search out local alternatives for everything possible. It's amazing the difference it can make.

When we started Kennedy's Biscuits, we made (and still make) a product by hand. We literally mix each batch in our mixer, roll them out by hand on a butcher block (that is 70 years old btw) covered in stainless steel, cut them by hand and place each individual treat on a baking sheet to be slow baked to perfection. We then bag them, by hand, and put them on our shelves. Your dog literally gets a fresh treat that has no preservatives, no chemicals, no fillers, and no corn/wheat/soy.  Are we the only company to do this? No... we're not. There are others out there that do it like we do. We actually carry another one right in our store... Hounds & Horses.

When we opened our retail store, we started small. We were literally bare bones. There was a reason we opened that way. We had a vision... a mental picture of what we wanted, and we truthfully hadn't found it all yet. We didn't want a store packed full of the normal junk. We wanted a store with unique merchandise that you can't find just anywhere. One of our competitors has a store very similar to ours... but they have it jam packed full of junky merchandise that you can buy at just about any pet store. Not only does their store look like a complete disaster, it's not really unique at all. We're all about offering top quality products, in our opinion. One thing we quickly realized is that many of those products are actually local. We do use a distributor for a handful of products in our store, and we always will. But, we're finding many items locally.

We'll start with Hounds & Horses since I've already mentioned them! Back in 2016 when we started, Hounds & Horses was on our radar. Similar product, beautiful packaging, and a great following! They had made a name for themselves, and a good one at that. We tweaked our packaging to a point we were happy with, and our vintage looking little bags of treats began popping up beside of theirs in some retail locations. We gained a high level of respect for them quickly, and even intentionally skipped events at some locations simply so we didn't eat in to business for them at those events. We wanted them to continue to thrive, simply because they were just like us... a local business providing a top notch, pristine quality product. When we opened our store, our vision shifted. We went from offering a great treat for your dog, to offering top notch nutrition for your pet... period. Hounds & Horses was one of the first locals we contacted for our store, and rightfully so. We're thrilled to have their product available for Frankfort in a convenient location. They're great people... and we love having them in our store! Walk in any time and you'll see their treats right beside of ours... one local company supporting another local company! It's a win-win situation. Not to mention, they're #KentuckyProud!

One of the first people we delivered to actually now has product available in our store. Not only that, she's actually our Event Specialist and you may see her at events when the warm weather kicks back up! Deb tried our Grain Free Whitefish & Duck dog food for her dogs when we first opened. She quickly realized that the quality of our food is amazing, and her dogs loved it. She became a regular customer. We learned that Deb had a hobby business called Nana's Hook & Needle Crafts... and after seeing some of it we were hooked... pun intended :). Deb makes some seriously amazing quality products, many of which are offered right in our store. Milward comes to work, and goes home every day, right on one of her hand made leashes. And, that's just the tip of the iceberg of what this lady can do with yarn. You seriously need to come to the store and look at her work... talk about the perfect gift this Holiday Season for the dog lover in your family or circle of friends! :)

Another amazing local product we offer comes from Lexington, at Soul Rebelex. Soul Rebelex formulates and makes (by hand) soaps, lotions, and all natural deodorants. Another #KentuckyProud company! We met Bob and Teresa at an event we were doing, Barktoberfest 2017, in Lexington. Our tent booth was right beside of theirs. Needless to say, it smelled amazing. At one point, I went over and tried a sample of their all natural lotion (omg seriously AMAZING) and noticed they had soap in the shape of a paw. It was dog soap... seriously... a little bar of soap for dogs. What amazed me was that it smelled unbelievable. I immediately said “I want that for my store!” Teresa was happy to offer it up, and I went home with 5 bars, plus one for us to personally try. We sold them in 3 days. Milward has never smelled better. We currently have plenty in stock!

There are many services in Frankfort that we love to love. Once or twice a week, we have a happy dog or cat owner walk in to the store with their pet... smile on their face... and say “I had an appointment at (whenever)!” The first few times it happened, we were confused, but quickly realized that they were looking for our neighbor, Pink Paws Grooming. She's right behind us in the building. Linda does grooming by appointment, and always has satisfied clients.

I can't wrap my blog up without mentioning one of our favorite local services! We love Barbara Murray's Pet Sitting Service... and the lady herself! Barbara offers several services to pet owners here in the Frankfort metro, from pet sitting to bathing. She loves animals, and they love her. I actually think Milward has a crush on her. Barbara is another person that came in to the store on our Grand Opening weekend. We stood around and talked for quite a while, and we sent her on her way with some of our fresh and healthy pet food (Adult Maintenance). She sent us a message the next day and told us that she did a comparison... old food and new food... and her dogs wouldn't even touch the food she had been feeding them after trying ours. She switched, and has been one of our biggest advocates since. We return the favor every chance we get.

We love promoting local businesses, and local services. With the Holiday Shopping season right upon us, it's important to support as many locals as possible. Local shoppers supporting local businesses, local businesses supporting other local businesses, local communities flourishing. You can't go wrong. Your community grows stronger, the local economy is healthy, and the products you purchase are top quality goods. #welovelocal