MIDDLEBURY-Creature Features in the Middlebury Marbleworks is ahead of the curve when it comes to providing pet owners with all the nutritional food, supplies and cute luxuries for their little darlings.
So what do your animal pals need? Treats, sweatshirts, coats, feed, or maybe a cage? Well, check out Creature Features. You're bound to find it there.
Owner Deb Taylor, a native of New Haven, Vt., and shop helper Pat Watkins are clearly committed animal lovers. They know just what it takes to provide the very best to customers' four-legged friends-yes, they have a few pals with two legs, feathers, and gills, too.
Taylor said she came up with the clever idea for Creature Features back in 2007 after working for retailers that marked up everything pet related. From canned food to leashes even water bowls, the big box stores were doing a good job of ripping off the little guy.
"I was outraged when I saw the huge mark-up on various pet foods and supplies," she said. "I've always had pets and Iwanted something else. So, that inspired me to open Creature Features. It's a pet-supply shop with low prices and quality products."
It's also a pet supply shop with a lot of heart. It's hard to find more friendlier and knowledgeable shopkeepers-who really will dig your animal friend-than Taylor and Watkins.
While Taylor doesn't sell pets, she offers everything for your pet. And you'll find a few critters who call the shop their home-like Taylor's dogs and a pair of cooing cockatiels.
Taylor likes the idea of "Buy Local". And she doesn't appear to mean just slap a "Buy Local" bumper-sticker on your foreign car and feel like you've done your bit for hearth and home.
Taylor decided to specialize in U.S.-made goods primarily because, unlike many imported goods, she knows the people behind the products-plus they are high quality, safe, and produced under the strictest oversight.
"Many pet owners no longer trust Chinese products after the pet food toxin scare a few years ago," she said. "Plus buying American means we help our workforce here, especially during these tough times. Many U.S.-made pet products are natural and animal safe. All our pet foods are AAFCO approved."
Creature Features has a growing clientele who especially love Taylor's sincere and laid-back business style-it's a unique approach to small town customer service.
Taylor likes to special order hard-to-get items for demanding pet owners. In addition, she is catering to growing number of customers who serve their dogs and cats raw food.
"Raw food is increasingly seen as the most healthy way to feed pets like dogs and cats," she said. "We have an in-house freezer with food cubed and ready to serve after thawing."
Joining Creature Features in the same shop space is a pet grooming service by owner Pilar Rinder-Goddard. While Features and the grooming shop are distinct businesses, both women are good friends and help each other's customers.
"Pilar is just wonderful with pet grooming," Watkins said. "She washes dogs, trims nails, and more-she can answer all kinds of pet questions."
Check It Out: Creature Features is located at Maple and Willard streets in the Kubata Building of the Marbleworks in downtown Middlebury. The shop is at the north end of the same building where the studios of radio station WVTK 92.1 are located. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For details, call 388-0110.