Mom-and-mom pet shop does battle with the big boys


Highlights

Just For Pets, 3742 Far West Blvd., opened in 2006.

In addition to supplies, Just For Pets also features grooming and pet wash services.

Family owned businesses doing battle with the big chains is nothing new.

We’ve seen it happen numerous times, perhaps most notably with mega-retailer Wal-Mart in communities big and small nationwide.

Now, the owners of a Central Texas pet supply store say they’re the ones struggling to survive, thanks to two new competitors on the same street.

Just For Pets, 3742 Far West Blvd., opened in 2006 and had been the sleepy North Austin neighborhood’s primary source of dog and cat food and other necessities for more than a decade – until Tomlinson’s, a local chain with more than a dozen locations, set up shop a few doors away.

Sales at Just For Pets have dipped – and general manager Katherine Holtry fears they could fall even further when Pet Supermarket, a Florida-based chain, opens its doors nearby. The shop is fighting to stay alive, she said.

“The new competition has taken a toll on Just For Pets in numerous ways,” she said. “Our competition … buys in large quantities, receiving huge discounts, resulting in lower prices and overhead. They are located right across the street from all the apartments in the area, so our customers without cars find it easier to walk down to their store.”

Holtry runs Just For Pets with her daughter Brittani Bash. Husband Eric was also active in the business until he passed away in August. “He was the rock that held the family dynamic together,” Holtry said. “It has been a long, hard road and extremely rough year for this mother-daughter duo.”

In addition to supplies, Just For Pets also features grooming and pet wash services, as well as holistic dietary consultations.

“Most of our customers have strong ties to the community and are well-educated,” Holtry said. “Being a mom-and-mom shop, they get that extra special care for their furry loved ones…. In a world that is losing personal relations, it’s nice to have one-on-one customer service.”

Find Just For Pets online at justforpetsaustin.com.

Downtown newcomer

Austin’s sole Gino’s East franchise is gone, replaced by a new homegrown restaurant concept.

Happy Chicks has made its debut in the spot downtown formerly occupied by the pizzeria.

Doug Guller, head of Austin-based ATX Brands, was the local Gino’s East franchisee and is also the man behind Happy Chicks and its chicken-heavy menu.

“We feel the that new concept and menu are a better fit for East Sixth Street,” Guller said. “Our food at Happy Chicks is made to order and takes less than 15 minutes. It’s a great offering for someone on the go. Eat at your desk or take for a stroll.”

The deep-dish pizzas at Gino’s East, on the other hand, could often take almost an hour to properly prepare.

Chicken tenders are front and center on the Happy Chicks menu. The restaurant offers 15 dipping sauces, as well as side dishes that include bacon macaroni and cheese and jalapeño cheese cornbread. There’s also a full bar.

“It’s a perfect Southern meal,” Guller said. “We wanted to offer food items that weren’t available on East Sixth Street. Once we made the decision to focus on chicken tenders, it took about six months to finalize the recipes and overall menu.”

Happy Chicks is at 214 E. Sixth St. and is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Same-day deliveries

Shopping at Macy’s just got a lot easier.

The department store chain has rolled same delivery in 15 more U.S. cities, including Austin.

Shoppers can make their selections at macys.com or on the Macy’s app and choose the same-day delivery option.

Orders must be placed by 1 p.m. for same-day delivery Monday through Saturday and by 11 a.m. on Sunday. The fee is $8 for online purchases of $99 or more or $8 plus standard Macy’s shipping costs for anything less.

“At Macy’s, every experience matters and we are thrilled to offer same-day delivery service to our customers in Austin,” Scott Prieto, executive vice president of logistics and operations for Macy’s, said in a written statement. “We are dedicated to ensuring that whenever, wherever and however our customer chooses to shop, their experience is seamless and convenient. We’re excited that we can leverage the stores we have in the Austin market as fulfillment centers to power same-day delivery, closing the gap between customers and products for more of our shoppers just in time for the holidays.”

Macy’s is relying on Deliv, a company a number of other retailers use for same-deliveries, to make the service possible.

The express lane …

Modern Acupuncture will open its first Austin-area location next month in the Westbank Market shopping center, 3300 Bee Cave Road in the Westlake area. A second location will follow in December. By 2020, Modern Acupuncture said it expects to have 150 locations nationwide. … Petco has teamed up with Austin-based Thrive Affordable Pet Care to offer a range of veterinary services at a number of stores across the U.S., including two in Central Texas: 5601 Brodie Lane in Sunset Valley and 9828 Great Hills Trail in the Arboretum area. Look for the clinics to come online by January. … Beauty boutique L’Occitane has reopened at San Marcos Premium Outlets, 3939 S. Interstate 35 in San Marcos, following a five-week-long renovation project. Seasonal retailer Spirit Halloween has also opened at San Marcos Premium Outlets, with plans to welcome shoppers through Nov. 1. … The retail operations of Austin-based Rogue Running have been acquired by Denver-based JackRabbit. … Nashville-based United Derm Partners has purchased eight clinics belonging to Austin’s Vitalogy Skincare. … At Domain Northside, Starbucks Reserve has made its debut at 3120 Palm Way. … Coolgreens, an Oklahoma City, Okla., chain specializing in healthy offerings such as salads and sandwiches, says it’s looking to open five locations in the Austin area in the next few years as part of a new franchising push.



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