Fort Smith’s Northern Hound Supply pet product and grooming store only opened a few months ago – and already plans to expand into a boarding kennel this coming summer.
Owner Anna Gervais said: “It’s been a lot better than I expected, that’s for sure. At 21 years old, it was really scary opening a store – but it worked out.”
Originally from Fort Smith, Gervais moved away but had returned every three months for the past two years to groom dogs.
When she came back, she said she noticed a “lack of quality pet food.”
“Every time I brought my dog here, if I ran out of food from down south, I was kind-of screwed,” she said.
Mackenzie Veterinary Services, based in High Level, holds monthly mobile vet clinics in Fort Smith and Hay River and does bring up specialty food at residents’ request. Otherwise, local grocery stores were the only places to buy pet food and supplies.
Gervais started research to see if Fort Smith could support a specialty pet supply shop, and saved up her grooming money to launch her business.
In addition to dog, cat, and fish supplies, Gervais also has full-service grooming and a self-service dog wash available.
She explained the self-serve dog wash is geared toward people with short-haired dogs: “They don’t really need to pay me to do it – they can just come in and [bathe their dog]. I cut the dog’s nails, and they’re on their way.”
This summer, she wants to open a boarding kennel with “at least 15 four-by-eight kennels” as well as larger kennels for dogs from the same home to share.
The boarding kennel will also be the only option in town. At the moment, residents must take their dogs to a kennel in southern Canada or Yellowknife when they go on vacation.