CARY — Fans of the locally owned Unleashed stores no longer have to travel to Raleigh to stock up on goodies for their pets.
The company recently opened a storefront in Cary’s Crescent Commons Shopping Center.
Unleashed is the brainchild of owners JP and Amy Phinney, who started their business selling all-natural chews and treats at the flea market at the State Fairgrounds in 2007.
A widespread recall of contaminated pet food that year provided the Phinneys an almost instant clientele, and they have been expanding the business since.
The Cary location is the fourth storefront; Unleashed also has sites in Raleigh and Wilmington, in addition to a kiosk in Crabtree Valley Mall.
Katie Keller, manager of the new Cary store, has been with the Phinneys almost from the beginning. She opened and managed the Wilmington store before moving to Cary.
“I was one of their first customers,” she said. “I just loved them.”
Keller said Unleashed is a natural alternative to a big-box store.
“Nobody does it quite like this,” she said. “We have everything you need for your cat and dog. If it’s in here, we’ve met the owner of the company and tested it on our own dogs.”
Allergies are a common concern for pet owners, and Keller said Unleashed can help.
“We help them find what works for their pet. Sometimes they need something strange, and we can usually figure it out.”
In addition to stacks of dry food bags, refrigerated cases hold rolls of raw food. Food products at Unleashed do not contain wheat, corn, soy, by-products or preservatives. The prices vary.
“We try to have a low end and a high end,” Keller said. “We want everyone who wants to feed their dogs well to find something affordable.”
In January, the store will open a self-service dog wash. For $15, owners will have access to a tub, shampoos, towels, clippers and anything else needed for a good wash.
Visiting canines and felines have a selection of sturdy toys to choose from. If Fido manages to destroy a plaything, Unleashed guarantees its products.
Bully sticks are especially popular. “We can’t keep enough of them,” Keller said.
The store is gearing up for the holiday season and will stock plenty of gift items.
For those wanting to celebrate a special occasion with their four-footed-friend, Unleashed has just the thing: All-natural and pet-friendly cupcakes that are kept frozen until ready to serve.
“In 30 minutes, they are thawed and ready for a candle,” Keller said. “We try to be really fun.”