The New England Dog Biscuit Company is setting up shop in downtown Danvers, at 11 Maple Street, right next door to . The premise of the shop is to offer customers a one stop shop for their pet needs, from leashes, collars and other retail items, to pet food, including specialty gourmet dog "pastries" and treats.
The business is the third incarnation of its kind and the brainchild of partners, Danvers native Dennis Bourgault and Mike Suddath. Bourgault said he is excited to be returning to his old hometown where he has a large extended family, after twenty three years living and working in Washington, D.C.
The BU graduate, with a degree in law and a masters in International Diplomacy, went to D.C. to work in the legal field. It was when he got to Capital Hill with his two dogs, that he recognized a need in the market for healthy dog food and treats, so he decided to start a business providing pet supplies, specialty dog and cat food and designer pet "pastries."
"I started at a weekend market, Eastern Market, which is the oldest continuously running market in the country," he explained. "It was laid out by Thomas Jefferson in the 1700's; it looks like Quincy Market. Then we opened our first store on Capital Hill, and a small boutique in Alexandria, VA. The business was hugely successful, garnering attention from Pet Product News International, who named the business the National Pet Retailer of the Year in 2009, among others."
"Now after 17 years, we've sold our D.C. Store, and closed our Virginia store. We're trying to re-brand and make it fresh," he said. The partners have decided to build a full bakery into the space, so all of the baking will be done on site in full view of customers because, as Bourgault said he "...just thought that would make it interesting."
Bourgault will work closely with local rescue groups to facilitate pet adoptions, will feature Adoption Days in the shop, and is interested in assisting with funding for the . He admits that while there are other chain stores nearby offering healthy competion, he feels this location in the heart of downtown will be more convenient for people to get to, and intends to reward customer loyalty with a dollar for dollar points program.
"We carry products that you cant find in the big chain stores, like the frozen raw pet food, and the frozen yogurt and ice cream treats. Our bakery items are baked fresh with human grade ingredients, and are wheat, corn and soy free," he said. "We have apple-tini dog cookies with real apple chunks, cannoli's, bear claws, Boston Cream Pies, peanut butter squirrel cookies-all for dogs, coated with yogurt or carob, so it looks like chocolate, but is safe for dogs."
As in most establishments that cater to furry friends, animals are not only allowed inside the premises, but their presence is encouraged. Bourgault's own Dalmation-Beagle mix, Jackson, may be seen visiting from time to time.
The former Class of 1980 graduate attended and grew up on Walnut Street in the Highlands section of Danvers. He recalled that his parents first owned a home on Garden Street when he was born, in the area that is now the parking lot of the on Route 114, before moving to Walnut Street to raise the growing family. "A lot of the same neighbors are still there," he said. " It's fun to see a lot of the old faces."
For Bourgault, the move to open his business in the square is a lot like a homecoming. "I was downtown a lot in the early days. although my mom passed away some years ago, a lot of people knew her in the downtown, she worked at Siesta Sleepshop before it was the atrium, and then she worked over at CF Tompkins Furniture, and . I still have family up here, my siblings, nieces and nephews are all in Danvers and Beverly."
New England Dog Biscuit Company will be open for business the week of May 21st, with a Grand Opening set for early June.