Nancy Fedelem is at it again. The local businesswoman, animal advocate and friend of many opened South Paw Neighborhood Pet Supply on Portland’s South Waterfront in late January. Her flagship store, Salty’s Pet Supply, opened 12 years ago; sister store Fang & Feather is 4.
While South Paw opened “at the worst possible time” given this winter’s ice and snow, Nancy happily reports that, “We had customers before we even opened,” including some they see every day. Located in a mixed-use building with residents up top, Nancy and her staff are already busy doing something they do best: building community.
“It’s such a great area,” says Nancy, “and so different from our other locations. You can be out walking and take the footbridge, be on either the east or west side of the river, and there’s great parks and shops. It’s pretty exciting — the South Waterfront is the new happenin’ place!”
Store Manager Bonnie and Receiving Specialist Alex run the store, says Nancy, and they’re getting great reviews. “I get awesome feedback about them. They have incredible knowledge and are doing an excellent job.” So good, in fact, that the building manager said, “They’re so great, I wish I could steal them!” A pet parent with a puppy and an older dog herself, the manager told Nancy that Bonnie and Alex always help with her pet issues, offering great suggestions.
The community has been equally enthusiastic in embracing South Paw. Nancy and her team love it when the building management buys residents goodie bags to say thank you for being great neighbors. “They’ll pop in and say, ‘We need to do a bag for Janice' (a beloved 12-year-old Malinois) — it’s so fun,” Nancy smiles.
The success of the Salty’s family of stores is no surprise given Nancy’s dedication to community, excellent service, high-quality products, and having fun. Her community spirit was recognized in 2015 with the Small Business Spirit Award from the Small Business Administration, in part for “her business prowess and commitment to the business community, pets, and their owners.”
Nancy and her team’s love of fun shows up in many ways, including their pleasure in selling ‘body parts.’ “Knee caps, chicken feet, trachea, ears, and scapula,” Nancy laughs. “We love body parts — they’re fun to sell.”
In keeping with her tradition of supporting community events, South Paw is a sponsor of the Portland Farmers Market — where the shop will offer products, including the famed body parts.
Nancy also finds fun in having shops in three unique neighborhoods. “I was at South Paw with Parker (her 10-year-old pup and longtime mascot of all her stores) when three gentlemen from out of town came in. We chatted, and as they readied to leave, one said: ‘You don’t know how much I needed that’ [petting Parker]. Then, days later I was at Salty’s, and those same three men came in. That’s what I love about having multiple stores — it’s really rewarding.” Nancy also really loves that “Parker, who’s often with me, brings so much joy to people.”
The Salty’s family of stores does that, too. See for yourself — with better weather on the horizon, a Grand Opening celebration is in the works, planned for late April. Get details and keep pace with all the fun on Facebook at SouthPawNeighborhoodPetSupply, and on the store’s website, coming soon: SouthPawPDX.com.
Photos by Phido Photography
Kristin Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer McCammon. She lives in Portland with her pups, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.