Gift Shop Pets Spring 2020
A Zest for Life By Debbie Eisele

Fetch RI is a holistic shop that focuses on well-being, vitality and longevity of pets

Fetch RI is a holistic shop for both canines and felines. Six years ago, Johnna Devereaux, owner and clinical pet nutritionist (CPN) opened the retail store in Richmond, Rhode Island. The inspiration for the store was her rescue dog, Diego. This retailer is all about healthy options for dogs and cats and wishes to “satisfy the needs of (their) mind, body, spirit and environment.”

Devereau’s entrepreneurial spirit launched when she was unable to locate products or guidance on nutrition to meet the needs of Diego, who had severe reactions to chemicals, food preservatives and other dietary issues. “Diego’s suboptimal health led me on the journey to becoming a CPN and opening Fetch RI,” she shared. “At Fetch RI, we curate all of the products that come into our store — you know that if a product, treat or food item is on our shelves, then it has been extensively researched, quality checked and is the best you can give your dog and/or cat.”

Johnna Devereaux, over of Fetch RI
Johnna Devereaux, owner and clinical pet nutritionist of Fetch RI. All photos courtesy of Fetch RI.

Devereaux is also an herbalist and on her quest to enhance pet nutrition, she made Fetch RI a chemical-free pet store. “We carry only all-natural remedies for our pets — that work with your pets’ body systems (versus against them),” she said.

Although Fetch RI offers a myriad of merchandise, Devereaux does have a few favorites. “Animal Essentials Herbal Green Alternative is a great nutritional supplement that supports overall immune health and supports a variety of body systems that I think should be included in every dog’s diet,” she shared. “In regards to toys — Fluff & Tuff dog toys are by far the best plush toy on the market — and the support from the company is top notch. My final favorite product is a toss up between 2Hounds Design and Walk Your Dog with Love harnesses — both harnesses are great quality and work extremely well.”

Part-Y Bar at Fetch RI
Items from its single and limited ingredient Part-Y Bar are great sellers.

Items from its single and limited ingredient Party-Y Bar are by far the best sellers at the store. “These include mix and match items like dehydrated beef or lamb heart, beef liver, lamb lung, duck hearts, and tripe to name a few,” Devereaux explained.

Merchandising plays an important role in the store — window displays are changed monthly, while other in-store displays are updated on a quarterly basis. “We try not to confuse our customers by making major changes to where items they love best are located — but we do switch things around a little so they potentially discover something new they hadn’t seen before,” she added. Devereaux’s favorite merchandise display is one she made from recycled pallets and metal baskets. “We use (it) for our Fluff & Tuff toys,” she said.

Fetch RI's Fluff & Tuff display
Fluff & Tuff dog toys are by far the best plush toy on the market and the in-store display showcases an array of offerings.

Products and superb service are what distinguishes this retailer. Fetch RI helps clients with nutrition, supplements and herbs and other products and services. “We offer free ‘test drives’ on our harnesses, where we encourage owners to bring in their dogs that we fit into a variety of harnesses and let them go outside on the grounds (of our store) to test how their dog responds and how they as handlers like it,” she said. “We also offer free harness adjustments for any dog — even if they aren’t wearing ones we sell. It’s important to us that people spend their money on products that will work for them and their dogs and this extra added customer service definitely helps us stand-out from other businesses.”

Fetch RI dog plaque wall
Fetch RI features pictures of all the dogs that came in the store when it first opened. Today, pictures are now digitally shared on social media as part of its #sharethehappy campaign.

For operational matters, Devereaux turns to a variety of resources. “Trade magazines offer a lot of great information and there are a lot of great apps available to help with efficiency,” she said. “In regards to marketing, merchandising, employee retention and customer service — most of what has been most effective for us is our willingness to try something new and the potential to fail. Being in the present and understanding the needs of the people is what matters and is what will make you most successful.”

When asked what the most challenging operational issue she has faced, Devereaux shared: “Staying in front of our consumer audience in fresh and interesting ways demands a lot of time and creativity. To do this effectively and yet also balance the in-store experience can be challenging at times.”

Fetch RI has created its niche and that has helped the store create a loyal following. “We offer competitive pricing with a one-on-one experience. It’s not just about making a sale at Fetch RI — it’s about making sure our customers get what they want and need while also taking into account the needs of their individual pet,” Devereaux emphasized. “With customer service like that — word spreads and we in turn, stand-out.

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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