DALLAS — Pets Unleashed has been open since early October, and owner Jayden Jones said he only wants one thing for it: To serve the people of Dallas by offering them quality products for their pets.
“Dallas has been a great support to us so far, they really have,” said Jones.
It’s a small space, but feels homey with its open floor-plan, allowing customers to browse, but never having to wander far from the front counter if they have a question about a product.
The store, at 322 Main St., offers products including animal food, toys, treats and clothes, as well as a reptile section that sells lights, fish and reptile supplies, iguanas, bearded dragons, chameleons, tortoises and hermit crabs.
“A little bit of everything,” Jones said.
He’s lived in Dallas since he was in high school, and figured it was the perfect place to start up his business, which he established with the help of his mom, Angie Jones.
“Well Dallas hasn’t had a pet store in quite some time,” Jones said, “and I feel like it’s the middle of Polk County.”
Being a small business can be hard, Jones said, especially with big chains like Walmart up the road, and online services such as Amazon.
The question going into this business for Jones was how to compete alongside those bigger corporations and be successful.
So far, Jones said he’s just focused on the customer.
“We give our customers more attention than the big chain stores,” he said. “We educate them on the products, we reach out and do what we can to help and get them the stuff they need.”
If the store doesn’t have a product a customer wants, then Jones will order it, he said.
He has revamped the store’s online website to make it easier for customers to get what they need. Customers can post a link of what they want, and Jones will get back to them within 48 hours to let them know the status.
When Pets Unleashed first opened, one of the main attractions were the puppies for sale, but it didn’t take long for rumors to spread that Jones was getting his puppies from puppy mills. At one point, the Dallas Police Department and Animal Patrol got involved.
Jones was eager to dispel those rumors. He gets his puppies from local breeders in the Northwest, including Scio, Eugene and Bend.
“I’d always drive and pick them up,” he said.
When he had puppies in the store, Jones said he was picky about who they went to, and each customer would have to sign a contract that stated they would take good care of that puppy.
There are no puppies for sale right now, but with the store still in its early stages, Jones said he has his hands full.
“It’s hard, because we get harassed a lot, and it’s a lot right now. We plan on having (puppies) still, just right now we’re trying to get everything going at one time, and having live animals is already hard enough.
“We’ll continue to do it, but it’s just hard.”
Now that Pets Unleashed has been open for a few months, Jones is looking to the future of his business and what else he can do with it.
“Our goal is to move into a bigger location,” he said. “To expand and become a bigger store with more products.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
“We’ve been talking about possibly doing a delivery service,” Jones said. “It’s hard right now, a small pet store competing with Chewy.com and Amazon. That’s something we’re looking at but, can we make it happen? It could take a while.”
One of the items Jones sells at his store is CBD products for dogs, which is used to help with a myriad of issues such as epilepsy and seizures, anxiety, and pain.
He said he recognizes a need for the education about both using CBD for dogs, as well as about dog food, so another goal is to start up classes about hot topics such as these.
Offering dog training classes was another idea Jones had, and now it’s coming to life.
Starting Jan. 23, Pets Unleashed will partner with Kristine’s Dog Training, based out of Independence.
Each class, which ranges from puppy obedience to working with aggressive behaviors, will be a six-week long course, held at Pets Unleashed. Prices and times vary.
Jones said sign-ups, which you can do at the front counter of the store, will be available within the next week or so.
Now that it’s the new year, Jones said he hopes to start hiring as business picks up.
Pets Unleashed is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
And yes, you can bring your pet in, Jones said. Just make sure they’re leashed up, he added with a laugh.