It was a perfect combination that drew Margaret and Gerry Bruce to take over ownership of Faithful Friends Pet Food at Blundell Centre when the previous owner decided to sell seven years ago.
Today, getting to know and serve customers and their beloved animals is the task of daughters Kelly Therrien and Sandy Lange, who took over the day-to-day running of the store, located across from COBS Bread, three years ago.
“Our parents thought it was the perfect opportunity to get involved with a business that was part of the community,” says Therrien. “They just love talking to people. And even though we try to keep them out of the store because they are older now and we don’t want to needlessly expose them to the COVID-19 virus, every now and then they still enjoy coming just to chat with customers.”
It’s that personal link with the community which has been the hallmark of Faithful Friends Pet Food.
“We are truly community-based. Sandy is very much in the know locally with the pet walking and other pet-friendly groups,” Therrien says. “Lots of times, we’ve also been there to help people who have not been able to care for their pets by getting them re-homed. And we donate pet food to help those low-income families in the neighbourhood.
“We do that because we care, and we are able to help.”
Customer service is another aspect the sisters pride themselves on delivering.
“We carry more than 25,000 items, which provides a huge variety of products in a small store space,” Therrien says. “But if someone wants a specific item, we can special order anything.
“So, while we may not have it on the shelves, we can get for you,” she adds. “We do our best to try and make customer service our biggest priority. We pride ourselves on treating everyone who comes to our store as special.”
An example of that during the pandemic is the store’s adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing and cleaning protocols to ensure all visitors feel safe and comfortable when they come in.
“We disinfect everything in the store on a continual basis. We also allow just six customers in the store at a time,” Therrien says. “And we’re happy to have people pick up their orders at the door. They pay ahead, and we leave the items outside the front door.
“It’s all part of what we do to make customers feel welcome.”
For more information about Faithful Friends Pet Food, visit online at faithfulfriendspetfoodsrichmond.ca.