Excelsior is going to the dogs, in a great way.
Bentley’s Pet Stuff has opened a new location at 400 Water Street, across the parking lot from Kowalski’s.
The company is named in honor of a special dog, and was founded by Bentley’s parents, Lisa and Giovanni Senafe, in Illinois in 2008. After losing two cats to illnesses, they began to grow concerned with their pets’ health and specifically their diets, and set out to create a business that would connect pets and their families with higher-quality food products. Today, inventory at Bentley’s includes options that can be tailored to the specific needs of different dogs and cats, and even offers options for owners looking to explore raw diets. In addition, the stores carry non-food products including beds and toys.
Lakeshore caught up with manager Leslie Steen, a mom of two rescue dogs whose background includes experience as a canine nutrition specialist, veterinary technician and dog trainer.
1) What is Bentley’s all about?
At the core of the company is Bentley’s food promise, which says that our food contains no by-products, no food or treats from China; no corn, wheat or soy; no chemical preservatives, and that we’re quality loyal, not brand loyal and carry a wide selection for any budget.
In recent years, there have been several recalls on food from China, so almost all of the pet food lines at Bentley’s are U.S.-made, with one line from Italy, a country that has a strict vetting process for pet food. We also carry raw diet options that are great for beginners considering it, the meals are already balanced so that owners don’t have to worry about adding in minerals or making sure the animals are getting everything they need, and the choices include things like beef, goose and lamb. A raw or partial raw diet allows them to get closer to how their ancestors ate, and how and what they were born to eat.
We also have a sample table set up in the back of the store, so dogs can try things out before owners make purchases. As employees, there are four of us in this store, and we’re all passionate about pets, and do training and work to continue to learn more about the products.
Bentley’s is a family-owned business and they were looking to expand into the Twin Cities. Excelsior is just a very dog friendly place–you see a lot of people out walking their dogs and even a lot of the businesses are welcoming. We had a soft opening on Feb. 1 and at our grand opening there was a line out the door of about 50 people, and we’ve just had a steady stream of people since.
3) Are there any pet-friendly events coming up at Bentley’s?
We’re trying to do at least one rescue event a month, and as the weather gets warmer we’ll try to do two to three a month. Rescue pets will be at the store during the events, and people can come and meet them. We’re also looking to host things like Yappie Hours and ice cream socials, and are just looking forward to being part of the community. Dogs are welcome here, and we have treats ready for our dog visitors. We want this to be a pit stop for people and to have regulars, to get to know our customers and their dogs.