Support Pet-Supply Shops Like Petropolis To Maintain ‘That One-On-One Conversation’ About Your Pets

Pet adoptions soared during the pandemic, to the point where some shelters made headlines for actually running out of animals. And yet, even with the adoption spike, business has still been a challenge for merchants like Tazz Latifi, owner of the all-natural holistic pet-supply shop Petropolis (91 Washington Street). 

“The clients that we had pre-pandemic, many of them are no longer around,” Latifi told the Downtown Alliance. “They’re not shopping with us, or they’ve moved, some of them out of the area entirely.” In the Before Days, Petropolis had offered full-service grooming for dogs and cats alongside the all-natural food products, toys and bedding supplies it still has in stock, but the threat of Covid-19 forced management to temporarily suspend the service.

At Petropolis, each product is lovingly curated to provide the highest possible quality for pets, and Latifi is always eager to answer questions for new or veteran pet owners who would be hard-pressed to find that same level of care and specificity with a Google search. (She also hosts an informative and entertaining podcast on the industry.) But sales at Petropolis have lagged in recent months, owing largely to an estimated 75% decrease in foot traffic and a surge in pet food orders being placed with large online retailers like Chewy and Amazon. 

Shopping at the big box companies might help customers save cents on the dollar, but could unintentionally jeopardize the small neighborhood shops where employees are used to catering their advice to furry friends and owners they know personally. “That is painful,” she admitted, “because you don’t get the information that’s directed towards your specific pet and situation online that can only come from that one-on-one conversation. Customers come here for the product but just as much to ask loads of questions.” 

Latifi, who has a background in food, wellness and nutrition and has worked at the store for 16 years, said that, despite the drop in sales, some clients have continued to support Petropolis throughout the pandemic. Keeping small businesses afloat during covid is in everyone’s interest — not only to throw a lifeline to the mom-and-pop owners who work so hard to keep their doors open, but also for the benefit of consumers.

After all, if your cat is having a tummy issue that you think might be the result of her food, it’s a critical lifeline to have a friendly neighborhood pet supplier right down the block who can help to soothe your anxieties and make personalized recommendations — and a level of customer service that simply doesn’t exist with the big online retailers.

photo: @petropolisnyc