Tonawanda News


June 2, 2009

BUSINESS: Kenmore woman has business that works for man and best friend

KENMORE — It is no secret the village prides itself on being a “walkable community.” The legion of dog-walkers on Delaware Road can testify to the availability of safe and convenient routes for some comfortable exercise.

Enter businesswoman and dog lover Ann Salerno-Kobel of Kenmore with an inventive idea and the necessary follow-through: a store that merges the sale of nutritionally sound dog foods and supplies with that standard of modern living, the coffee shop.

The Organic Dog Market and Coffee-Tea House opened last month in a formerly vacant storefront on Delaware Avenue, steps away from the Municipal Building, and therein lies the solution to a need, as well as Giuseppe, a lively Chihuahua-terrier mix who serves as company mascot and guiding light.

“Walking Giuseppe, there was never anyplace to stop,” said Salerno-Kobel, whose entry into small business ownership comes after a career in sales and marketing. “I’d take him places, and we’d have to leave.”

Hence, the inspiration for her business, an all-well-behaved-dogs-welcome coffee shop.

There is more going on here, though, than simply providing a lounge for dogs and their walkers.

“We’re very invested in what dogs eat,” she said. The Wi-Fi-enabled store offers journal articles by veterinary oncologists, and its Internet access can provide quick answers to questions about diet, exercise and behavior. The inventory features a variety of dog diets, frozen steaks that include ground-down meat and bones with organic fruits and vegetables, and a selection of “air-dried foods” (known in the business as “raw without the thaw”) that retain essential enzymes normally cooked out.

It’s a recipe that Salerno-Kobel says her own dog has enjoyed.

“This little critter (Giuseppe) may be amusing and a lot of fun, but you have to take car of him. You see overweight dogs, you find out they’ve been eating Tim Horton’s donuts, and it’s no surprise,” she pointed out. “I think it’s a misconception that if you’re feeding your dog better, it will destroy you financially. ... Do your own research, so you understand what you provide. We want to heighten people’s awareness; people will look at their dogs differently.”

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