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Pets and and animals in need continue to profit from Happy Retales

PHOTO: Grayson Lee and his mom, Benita, with Mia, a Pomeranian, and Emmie, a Standard Poodle. Mia and Emmie have weekly grooming appointments at Happy Retales.

By LANDON WOODROOF

Most people would think that a pet store that does not bring back a profit to its owners is doing something wrong.

At Happy Retales in Brentwood, though, personal profit is beside the point.

Since 2006, Happy Retales has served local pet owners and their pets with one overriding purpose: to help animals in need.

It all started when John Cooper lost his longtime pet, a golden retriever, that he dearly loved.

Cooper, a real estate developer, wanted to do something to honor the dog and decided to open a pet store that would dedicate all of its profits to animal rescue organizations, Brenda Eldridge, a marketing volunteer at Happy Retales, said.

The store currently donates 100 percent of its profits, after overhead costs are accounted for, to six animal shelters.

“Nobody wants to make money off of the dog food and off of people’s pets,” Eldridge said. “It goes to the rescues so that more can be rescued.”

While the mission has remained the same at Happy Retales, the store has grown over the years.

What started as a retail space with a small collection of dog and cat food, treats and toys has turned into a store with a large variety of specialized foods, gifts and supplies, as well as a bustling grooming salon.

All of this is overseen by a team made up mostly of volunteers, the number of staff members minimized to maximize the amount that Happy Retales can donate to rescue organizations.

“We work hard, but it’s really gratifying,” Eldridge said.

Ilene Maslan has been volunteering at Happy Retales for going on four years.

“I knew someone who worked here, and I love dogs and animals and just decided I would put some energy into something I really loved,” she said.

The store is so special to Maslan for a number of reasons. There is its dedication to animal rescue, of course, but Maslan also loves the people she gets to work with at Happy Retales and the customers with whom she gets to interact.

“The same people come in over and over again, and we have all these lovely people who work here and are very welcoming and very grateful for the extra set of hands,” Maslan said.

Maslan is a volunteer, but she is also a steady customer of Happy Retales as well.

“It’s really hard to leave here without buying something,” she said. “I always find something I think I need to take home.”

The main recipient of Maslan’s largesse is her beloved Goldendoodle puppy, Enzo. Other dogs benefit too, though.

“I shop here for gifts, too, for other dog lovers because it’s a great place to find things like that,” she said.

A little after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, some loyal customers walked in the door.

Benita Lee is the personal assistant of a Brentwood family. For the past eight years, once a week Lee brings in Emmie, a Standard Poodle, and Mia, a Pomeranian, for a grooming appointments. On Wednesday, her son, Grayson, 6, accompanied his mom to pick the two dogs up.

“Everybody is so friendly,” Lee said. “Everybody just knows each other.”

She singles out Trey Healy, the manager of the grooming room, for special praise.

“Trey is awesome,” Lee said.

Eldridge agrees, pointing out the popularity of the entire grooming staff.

“The groomers are amazing,” she said. “They have one-on-one consultation. They talk to each person individually when they come in.”

Lee is an example of the type of person who has kept Happy Retales a popular destination for pet lovers for the past decade.

“People who come here have been coming a long time,” Eldridge said. “We know them, and we know their dogs.”

As far as retail is concerned, food is one of Happy Retales’s main focuses.

Eldridge said that over the years, Happy Retales has become known for stocking a wide variety of high quality, organic pet foods.

“The goal of the store is to help all pet lovers from the new pet owner to the longtime experienced owner to find a more holistic natural options for feeding their pets,” she said. “The volunteers we work hard to understand the different foods and which ones are best for the needs of the people who come in.”

Whether people are buying food, or toys, or gifts, or any number of other products, customers can rest assured that what they bought was not made overseas somewhere.

“Our products are sourced and made in the United States,” Eldridge said.

Those products are discounted, too, to customers who adopt pets from a rescue organization or from animal control.

Eldridge said that the business has grown over the years mostly through word of mouth. Customers like what they experience at Happy Retales and tell others.

“We love to spend one-on-one time with people, answering questions, teaching customers how to give their pets a longer and healthier life,” Eldridge said.

Happy Retales is located at 101 Creekside Crossing in Brentwood. The animal rescue organizations it currently supports are:

Agape Animal Rescue

Crossroads Campus

Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue

Middle Tennessee Golden Retriever Rescue

Snooty Giggles

Westie Rescue of Tennessee

To find out more, you can visit the store’s website.

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