On Valentine’s Day 11 years ago, Nancy Fedelem took ownership of Salty’s Pet Supply on Mississippi Ave. in Portland.
It was a love affair from the start.
It all began in 2005 when Nancy left corporate life in California to move to Portland with her husband Matt. Unsure of what she wanted to do next, she lent a hand to a friend who had just opened a pet supply store. In six short months, she owned the place. “I love retail,” she smiles.
Apparently it loves her too: in 2012, she opened her second shop, Fang & Feather in NoPo’s Kenton neighborhood. In May of last year, Nancy and both shops were honored with an SBA Small Business Spirit Award, with an acknowledgment that said, in part: “A steadfast contributor to both the Mississippi and Kenton Business Associations, Nancy’s commitment to the business community, pets, and their owners, makes her a standout entrepreneur and truly ‘spirited’ small business owner.”
While appreciative of the accolades, what is perhaps most meaningful to Nancy is that she and her businesses have become integral members of their neighborhoods.
“I love the animals, the customers coming in with their pets, and being able to help meet their needs,” Nancy says. Having degreed and built a career in set design and event planning, she also loves the visual aspects. “It totally plays into my love of theatre and design.”
While that love comes naturally, Nancy’s love of dogs came as a surprise. Her husband wanted to adopt one shortly after they married. Nancy had always had cats, but had never wanted a dog. But Matt prevailed, and soon the family included Monk, a Rott/Lab mix. “I was like, Ugh! He’s your dog,” Nancy laughs.
But with a little time, training, and more than a few sloppy kisses, Monk won her heart. In the months that followed, the family added Sharona, a MinPin rescue. While fostering MinPins, Bubby came along. Then came Bryan, a “foster failure” and their first adoption in Portland.
In addition to her love of retail and pets, there is one more passion many identify closely with Nancy: community outreach and support. Among her favorite community activities is a Photos with Santa event held during the holidays at both stores. “We raised $1200 for Multnomah County Animal Services’ Dolly Fund last year,” she says happily.
Both businesses support many organizations, including PAW Team, which provides quality veterinary care for pets of low-income and homeless individuals and families, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, and others.
And as they give, they grow. Soon Fang & Feather will move into larger digs — four times the current space, and double the size of Salty’s — and expand to include farm and feed as well as pet supplies. The new location is still in the Kenton neighborhood, and Nancy looks forward to continued involvement in the community.
While there is much work to be done for the new Fang & Feather’s opening in late July, right now Nancy is busy preparing for another favorite annual event: the annual costume contest Fang & Feather hosts in May as part of the Kenton Street Fair.
“We had a great turnout last year — a ton of people!” says Nancy, adding that she expects the event to be even bigger this year.
If you’ve never met Nancy, or visited Salty’s or Fang & Feather — or even if you have — this is a great time to stop by. Get your best friend dolled up (this year’s theme is children’s book characters) and get in on the fun!