David and Elissa Miles of Greenport have a real love for dogs. Through that love, they’ve come to embrace holistic approaches to canine health, including raw food and what’s known as low-stress grooming.
So it seems appropriate they’re operating their own pet supply business on Mattituck’s Love Lane.
They took over ownership of the existing Country Pet Boutique in November and since then have been quietly running the store under that name while implementing their own changes.
Their shop, now called Groom + Gear, has been re-branded and restocked and the couple is celebrating its grand reopening.
Until eight months ago, the prospect of opening a pet store on the North Fork was just pipe dream for them, Ms. Miles said. The couple, who lived on New York City’s Lower East Side for over a decade, were happy to keep their day jobs while running a dog walking service and spending time at their second home on the North Fork. They would also adopt stray street dogs, nurse them back to health and help them find homes.
Turning their passion for helping dogs into a business was always in the back of their minds, but the couple never had a plan in place to buy a storefront. That changed last October, when Ms. Miles’ uncle was flipping through real estate listings and found one for the Country Pet Boutique.
“Six weeks after we read the listing, we packed up and moved here full time,” Ms. Miles said. “It was something we wanted for a long time.”
Specializing in a “stress-free” approach to grooming, pups are pampered when they come in for grooming; Mr. Miles often massages and bathes the animals with all-natural shampoo while soothing music plays and relaxing pheromones are released.
The environment is cage-free and muzzle-free, Ms. Miles said, and is all about creating a positive experience.
“We take into account the mind-frame of the dog,” she said. “Most places stick them right in a crate and it’s stressful for the animals.”
The business, she said, offers an alternative to noisy, crowded “big box” grooming. Rather than being crated, canine clients at Groom + Gear run free in a play area and get cuddles from Ms. Miles behind the front desk.
“We’re not in it for the money, we’re in it for the dogs,” she said.
The pet store is also one of a few in the area to offer raw pet food — a somewhat recent trend among pet owners. The diet emphasizes consumption of raw meat, bones, fruits and vegetables for shinier coats, cleaner teeth and higher energy levels, Ms. Miles said.
Groom + Gear also sells a variety of pet toys and supplies for both dogs and cats.
In addition, Ms. Miles said she plans to work with the North Fork Animal Welfare League to help with adoptions. The store will feature a shelter pet of the week and have a donation box on the premises for customers to support the nonprofit, which the town shelters for Southold and Riverhead.