Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Summer-girl Laura Amiton's sense of fun and knack for customer service recently brought The Filling Station Pet Supplies to Tigard, a shop where premium pet products are loaded into your car -- WITH a courtesy windshield wash. Hearkening back to the service of old-time gas stations, there’s even a drive-thru, and staff in retro uniforms.
The biz was inspired by customers with long "to-do" lists hustling to buy pet food in her Alberta Street shop, Healthy Pets Northwest, which she's owned since 2004.
"I especially noticed when a mom with a baby had to run in to get pet food. I said go back to your car, I'll get your shopping done, and I'll bring it back with a receipt," she says with a natural sweetness. "I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have a business model to help customers out with that."
After two years of surveys and interviews, and doing many rewrites on a business plan with the help of a coach, the idea evolved away from a drive-thru only.
"The reality was, people wanted socialization for their pets — a place to browse, a shopping experience,” Laura explains. “The drive-thru is a BIG part of it, but not the only part of it."
"These days with so much technology, we are oddly removed from each other. I find a lot of customers hanging around in my shop and enjoying time there."
Endeavoring to offer customers the best of both worlds, a tech feature should launch in November.
"Anybody who has shopped at my store, even spent one dollar at my store, will be able to go online and complete a profile for themselves and their pets so we can meet their needs better," Laura sparkles. "For example, if they list their pet as sensitive to beef, I can keep them informed about new foods of interest or on special. If hip dysplasia is an issue, I can keep those products at the forefront."
"We make doing right for your pets as easy as possible,” Laura continues. “We want to make all the things available in our store high quality, safe, and easy for you to get."
Raised with a Samoyed named Suomie and a cat named Amos, Laura still comes home to fur-kids.
"I love to hear my dog bark on the other side of the door and then when I open it, she's there with a huge smile. My cats seem excited too!"
"I have three cats (Tiegan, orange Tabby; Macy, grey Tabby; Henry, grey medium-haired failed foster); and Willa the total mutt,” she smiles.
Laura learned about pet ownership, health concerns for dogs and cats and how to work with people during potentially stressful times” while volunteering behind the scenes at a veterinary hospital. Later as an adoption counselor for the Oregon Humane Society she helped start their adoption outreach program at Tigard PetSmart.
"I really enjoyed helping animals find their forever homes."
A true homebody, Laura says, "People who don't know me well are surprised to learn that I am very much an introverted personality outside of work. I can appear pretty shy."
She tries not to take herself too seriously, and hopes people see that she's "fair in the way I live my life and run my companies, and that I care deeply."
The Oregon native loves puppies, kittens, appreciative customers, seeing people happy, and PIZZA.
"I'd BE a pizza if I could!" she laughs.
The shoes that get her through the day? "I am SOOO not a shoe person,” she laughs. “These days I'd say Sanuks define my personality — a bit quirky and casual."
Looking back, Laura says she "never in a million years thought I'd open another store, but here I am with it," she laughs. "It's been really fun, really hard, but so great."
The Filling Station Pet Supplies is located at 10115 SW Nimbus Ave., Tigard OR 97223. You can reach them at 503-352-4269.
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Christy Caballero writes from her soul about animals and their humans. She and hubby Herb compete for space on the couch with three big RagaMuffin cats, two retired racing greyhounds and one slightly neurotic foster greyhound -- who never wants to leave. Ever.
UPDATE: Slightly neurotic foster greyhound / failed foster number three. Never has to leave. Ever.