If you have a pet, you know how much joy and love they bring into your life. Sure, having a pet can be a hassle at times, but at the end of the day your pets are worth it! Now, you may love your dog or cat a lot, but has your pet inspired you to start your own business? Angie Lilly, founder and owner of Gabbi’s Pet Boutique in Henderson, can say yes. Store manager Brittany Yelton was happy to tell us more.
What made Angie decide to start this pet store?
"Angie has always been an animal lover. She also loves sewing. Before opening the shop, she had started making outfits for her dog, Gabbi, and people would stop her and ask where she got them. So, she started selling those clothes.
At the time she also had a Shih Tzu who had horrible food allergies. He was constantly scratching and miserable. After not getting a lot of help from a vet, Angie did a lot of research on her own and decided to put the dog on a raw food diet. This was not popular back then (10 years ago). The diet turned the dog around completely. He really started to thrive! Armed with that info and experience, she decided to start a store that offered nutritious food and stylish clothing for animals."
How did you get connected with Gabbi’s Pet Boutique?
"Before I started at Gabbi’s, I rescued a mini poodle named Lucy. She was very underweight and sick. When I got her, people would ask, ‘Why her? Wouldn’t you rather get a puppy or healthy dog?’ But there was just something about Lucy’s face that drew me.
My stepmother shopped here at Gabbi’s and told me to come down and see if I could find something to help Lucy. When I stopped by, Angie was super helpful with information on nutrition. I loved seeing the difference nutrition made for Lucy! As her health improved, her personality came out as well. I was so happy, and I told Angie that if she ever needed any help to let me know. Three months later she gave me a call. I started part-time, but now I’ve been here six years and am store manager."
What does your local business offer that pet owners can’t get at a larger chain store?
"We like to educate our customers. We don’t just want to sell a product. We want them to know how a product is supposed to work, and the signs they can look for in their pets.
Also, Angie’s handmade items are something special you can only get at our store. Angie will even do custom items. For example, one time she made a doggie wedding dress and doggie bridesmaid dress. She’s made dog tuxedos before. She also makes custom pet slings for tiny dogs or other tiny animals, which are very popular.
The environment in the store is special as well. We like to be fun and friendly. We’ve got bright colors on the walls and outside of the store. It’s a happy environment and customers are welcome to bring animals in. We always have our store cat, Willow, in here begging for attention. During the work week, customers come in on their lunch break just to see the animals."
What do you like about being a local Henderson/Evansville business?
"We love getting to know our customers and their fur babies. It’s fun when people bring in puppies and we get to watch them grow up. We get to go through the happy times with people and their animals, but also the hard times when the animals get older and pass on. Most of our customers are so grateful when we are able to give their dog two more years or give them more energy or help correct a certain medical condition. That makes us love what we do. We love to share our knowledge and then watch customers see a difference in their pets.
We also listen to our customers' wants and needs. Moving forward, we’re going to bring in goat feed and horse feed. We’re really breaking into the horse realm, and that came from customer requests. If customers want something, we do our best to provide it for them."
Whether you need food, supplies, or training classes for your pets, Gabbi’s Pet Boutique will be able to give you a paw. Stop by to shop or to say hi (to humans or animals). In the meantime, download Towny: local's up to us.