Supporting local retailers is extremely important to us at The Honest Kitchen.
While Covid-19 has created many obstacles for our retail partners, we're in awe of how they've adapted and all they're doing to keep the pets in the communities happy and healthy. We wanted to take some time to highlight some of our partners who are doing an amazing job, beginning with our friends at Two Bostons.
THK: Tell us a bit about your store, how you got started, year founded, locations etc.
TB: We started Two Bostons in 2005 out of our love of our two rescue Boston Terriers, Roscoe and Daisy. We now have 5 stores in the western suburbs of Chicago and continue to focus on our mission of Improving the Lives of Pets and their People daily.
THK: Are there any key things that really set your store apart from others, specific qualities or values that Two Bostons is known for?
TB: Our core values are what set us apart because they inform how we approach every situation - even this pandemic.
Service Above Everything - we are an essential business and we exist to serve our customers in the best and safest way possible
Always Be Improving - We've learned so many new things in the last few weeks! We've increased our delivery and curbside abilities and made a number of changes at the stores to increase efficiencies while keeping everyone safe.
Exhibit Ownership Thinking - The number of suggestions for improvements made by our Team has been awesome - they are thinking like they own the business. That is what we are always striving for!
Be Action-Oriented - We didn't wait to see what others were doing. We researched what we needed to do, clearly communicated it with our Team and customers, and then started doing it.
Share Your Knowledge - We love to educate - we've been doing more of this on social media than in the store lately, but our What's New Wednesday feature solely focuses on teaching customers about new and notable products we carry.
Create Fun Experiences - We're not all work! We've started family game night on Sundays on Facebook Live as well as focused on ways we can bring a smile to our customer's faces even though we aren't seeing all their pets.
THK: Clearly a global pandemic brings unimaginable horrors and suffering that no community can shield itself from. But are there any glimmers of light or small positives that you see emerging, or think might surface once the world comes out on the other side of this disaster?
TB: I'm optimistic about people coming together towards a shared goal. While we sometimes get down on ourselves about individual behavior, I really think that when there is clear guidance and a shared goal, I've been impressed to see people pull together.
THK: Are there any new trends that you’ve noticed within your customer base, as a result of social distancing, such as homemade treat making, puzzles to occupy pups during work from home Zoom calls etc?
TB: We've been offering "Boredom Busters" and different packs that have been extremely popular. We even did a few "cooking shows" to teach customers about some fun activities they could do for their pets.
THK: Can you explain any key things your store has done to pivot into a new way of operating since the pandemic began and social distancing became the new normal? Or, is there anything you’re thinking about such as special offers to support frontline workers or folks who may have adopted or fostered a new pet at this time?
TB: We've done a number of things to change how we operate. First, we wanted to make sure people could get products for their pets in the way they felt comfortable - we increased the number of products on our online store, encouraged phone consultations and proactively reached out to customers, as well as made our stores safe for essential shopping trips with enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. While we have always offered curbside and delivery services, they have been much more popular recently and we've done a better job letting customers know that we offer these services.
THK: Are there any initiatives that your store is thinking about for social media or online marketing to help drive awareness for your stores?
TB: Consistent Facebook Live has been the biggest "new social media" thing we've been doing - as we are a family owned business, that means kids/dogs/life happening in the background that our customers love to see! This is how we've been doing our What's New Wednesday, Family Game Night, and May's 31 Days of Deals and Steals. There has been great engagement and reach as well as many positive comments. It feels good to give our customers something to look forward to on a regular basis.
THK: Anything words of wisdom or inspiration you’d like to share with your local community or other retailers as they navigate the challenges of social distancing?
TB: Please have patience with one another as we all figure this out together. We may take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but it is still forward progress and we should celebrate our wins. We will get through this stronger and smarter than we were before.
Lucy Postins is founder and Chief Integrity Officer at The Honest Kitchen. She is a companion animal nutritionist who started The Honest Kitchen in her kitchen in 2002. She is passionate about advanced nutrition and holistic health including complementary modalities such as herbalism and homeopathy. Considered an expert in her field, Lucy frequently writes articles for local and national media, conducts radio interviews and educational spots, and occasionally holds educational seminars for pet owners on the importance of good nutrition. She also recently authored Dog Obsessed, a guide to a happier, healthier life for the pup you love.