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Oak Bay pet store with a unique approach opens a second location

The Pet Store’s second location has a catnip dispensary
Owners of The Pet Store Leo Powell and Jordan Illingworth are opening a second location in Oak Bay. (Courtesy The Pet Store)

Tim Collins


With the legalization of cannabis products in Canada, it seems that dispensaries for the product have sprouted up everywhere. So much so that they barely draw any notice and have become an ordinary, and some may argue, long-overdue feature of our society.

But what about our four-legged friends?

Until now you would have been hard pressed to find a pet store that provided the same consideration for our non-human friends. It’s a situation that Leo Powell and Jordan Illingworth were determined to put right and, with the opening of their second The Pet Store location, they have done just that.

Their new store includes a catnip dispensary, the first on Vancouver Island.

“We offer a number of different strains for cats. Some amp them up and give them energy while others calm them down,” said Powell. “They’re basically herbs, and they have a number of health benefits for cats.”

Apparently, the herb mixtures are also safe for dogs and can have a calming effect, help with stomach and kidney problems and aid in weight loss for those pups who just can’t get to the gym as often as they’d like.

And if the concept of a catnip dispensary seems a bit Avant Garde for a pet store, you probably haven’t visited The Pet Store or spoken to Powell or Illiingworth.

“We are not the run-of-the-mill pet store,” said Powell. “We’re have a boutique approach that reflects our passion for our pets.”

He points to the fact that The Pet Store does not sell the generic quality dog food that one might find at the grocery store or, for that matter, most vets.

“Feeding your dog that food is roughly the equivalent of you eating nothing but fast food for your entire life and wondering why you have medical problems,” Powell said. “We sell the five best types of kibbles, single ingredient treats, raw food and freeze-dried nutrition supplements.”

You can only feed a dog overly processed food for so long before you run into issues. You can pay for good food now, or you can pay the vet bills in five years.”

Of course, The Pet Store’s unique approach to pet store operation transcends both the catnip dispensary and the healthy pet foods. They also provide pet care advice, training, a free dog wash (they’ll provide comfy towels), and even valet “barking” where customers can park their car and have the dog food delivered out to them. As an added bonus, if your dog is with you (and why wouldn’t they be) they get a free pupichino – drive-through style.

In truth, this unique pet store approach shouldn’t come as a surprise.

After all, Powell and Illingworth are the creators of Day of the Dog (formerly known as Pet-A-Palooza). That’s the West Coast’s largest pet festival that has now expanded into the United States and it’s nothing but fun for dogs and their human friends. The event features a doggie pool party, corgi races, doggie superhero photos and a lot more.

“We’re passionate about dogs and we’ve cultivated our own style of making pets a part of the modern family,” Powell said.

Given that Powell and Illingworth currently share their home with no less than six dogs – Great Danes no less - that much is obvious.

The Pet Store has two locations, 2019 Cadboro Bay Rd. in Oak Bay and at 3845 Cadboro Bay Rd. in Saanich.