If you live in Greenwich and have a pet, then you definitely need to make a visit to Raleigh & Co. Fine Pet Goods at 209 Bruce Park Ave.
This delightful store offers a wide selection of useful items for pet-owners and their furry little friends; including the highest quality supplies to promote the health and happiness of dogs and cats. (scroll down to see a few images of their ever-evolving selection)
Living Greenwich recently cornered Betsy Kaminski, co-owner of Raleigh & Co. to ask her a few questions about how the business started, the services they provide for pet-owners, and what she loves about living in Greenwich (along with a few of her favorite local businesses).
Here's what she had to say:
Raleigh & Co. has been going strong for almost 2 years. What were a couple of motivating factors that influenced you to start Raleigh?
Raleigh was a major motivation! He is the name sake of the store, and he was a rescued beagle mix that I had for 14 years. When he got older, he had a few health issues, so I became very particular when it came to what I fed him, what toys I bought him, or what sort of harnesses I used to walk him.
Another motivation came from my previous career as a sociology professor and an observer of shifts in our culture. I saw that many people were like me, they view their pets as part of the family. Many consumers want the best for their pets but simply don’t have the time to sort through all the options available online or in a large box store. I saw a need for a small pet goods store with carefully chosen merchandise.
I believe that people are coming back to the idea of supporting local, small businesses. Shopping online doesn’t allow you to walk into a store with your dog, get some personal attention, and actually try on items. People want that experience to be sure that they are getting a quality item that suits their needs.
What are some of the differences between Raleigh & other pet establishments?
Being small is our strength. I set criteria for our products and carefully choose our merchandise. As an example, all of our dog treats are wheat-free and made in the U.S.
We are more specialized and much more personal than other larger pet supply shops. I think customers feel that right when they walk in. It’s a different experience. You can bring your dog. Shoppers can sit and relax or chat with us about their pets and what they are looking for.
Tell us about some of the extra services you provide for your customers?
We provide individual attention so that people can find the right products for their pets. Harness fitting and custom bed orders are just a couple of examples.
We do in-store events that are both social and educational. Every month we have what we call the “Bark Bar”, a get together for canines and their owners. It’s the first Thursday at 5:00pm. In May we will be participating in “Art on the Avenue”. The Bark Bar on May 4th will be a reception to highlight our chosen artist Paul Wood.
What do you like about running Raleigh?
Every day I get to meet people and their pets in the store, which is a lot of fun. It is rewarding to help people find a solution to an issue they are having with their dog or cat. I have a soft spot for older dogs, and I love helping their owners find products to keep them comfortable and healthy.
It is also rewarding to work with small manufacturers who have designed great products. Many of the manufacturers we work with are small businesses started by pet lovers who were trying to come up with a solution to help their own pet.
We love living in Greenwich, what do you like about the Greenwich community?
I love being close to the water and to the natural beauty here. Tod’s Point, and the Audubon are a couple of attractions that stand out.
Here in Greenwich, I find there is a culture that supports small businesses. There are some great locally owned businesses in Greenwich. Raleigh & Co. is on a vibrant corner of town with Greenwich Prime Meats, J. Papers, Bon Ton Fish Market, and the House of Fins.
Which civic or charity organization in town do you support or which groups do you admire?
I am an animal lover, so I support and admire all of the local rescue organizations such as Adopt-a-Dog, Animals-R- Family, STARelief and Pet Assistance, and also Norwalk-based Lexi’s Angels, which is the rescue that brought us our new puppy Fletcher!
Raleigh & Co. has also done a recent fundraising promotion with the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF). ACF is the leading organization committed to funding comparative oncology research to find a cure for the millions of pets and people affected by cancer. Sometimes doing our best to help cure pet cancer might also help us cure cancer in humans.
Separate from my love of animals, I’m also a music lover. I’ve recently discovered Backcountry Jazz - a local non-profit that celebrates, preserves and expands the rich tradition of Jazz.
Thanks for sharing with us Betsy - can't wait to see you on May 4th, at the Opening Night Reception for your 'ART to the Avenue' exhibition!
Raleigh & Co. is participating in The Greenwich Arts Council's 'ART to the Avenue'.
During the month of May, artwork by Paul Wood will be on display in their store.
Paul Wood is a coastal Connecticut-based abstract artist. His style is a type of "Action Painting" where movement and energy are infused in each painting. Paul is inspired by the outdoors and in particular the ocean. Originally from California, Paul is a hopeless optimist - his glass is always half full.
Please Join Raleigh & Co. for the Opening Night Reception on May 4, 2017 from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm!
Interview by Patti Finkelstein
Photos by Pam Grunow