‘Muddies’ business comes to town

Mud Bay, a pet shop specializing in natural, healthy dog and cat food, will soon open on Mercer Island. The store has “all sorts of plans” for its grand opening event, “A Bite of Mud Bay,” said marketing representative Karin Koonings. Events, activities, demonstrations, dog and cat food and treat vendors, and store specials will be available during the official opening event on Sept. 12.

  • Wednesday, August 25, 2010 11:00am
  • Business

Mud Bay, a pet shop specializing in natural, healthy dog and cat food, will soon open on Mercer Island.

The store has “all sorts of plans” for its grand opening event, “A Bite of Mud Bay,” said marketing representative Karin Koonings.

Events, activities, demonstrations, dog and cat food and treat vendors, and store specials will be available during the official opening event on Sept. 12.

Koonings said the store calls itself the “two species specialists.”

The Mercer Island shop will be the 18th Puget Sound store owned by Lars and Marisa Wulff of Olympia, home of the original Mud Bay, which opened in 1988 and sold everything from fresh, local oysters and packaged snack food to hay and fertilizer.

Lars’ mother, Elsa, opened the first store, which slowly eliminated everything unrelated to animal needs and nutrition, according to the Mud Bay Web site.

Loyal customers and dedicated employees are partially to thank for Mud Bay’s success.

“We have a lot of demand for our products and services,” Koonings said. “Despite the economy, we’ve done very well.”

In fact, the Wulffs decided to open their newest store on Mercer Island specifically because of customer requests for an Island store, she said.

Mud Bay will also open two additional stores this September, one in Redmond and one in Gig Harbor.

Shopping for pet food at Mud Bay is different than a trip to the grocery, big box or hardware store for a 50-plus-pound bag of kibble, Koonings said.

“What makes us different is the 700 varieties and natural, nutritious food,” she said. “Muddies — that’s what the staff call themselves — are highly trained and can answer customers’ questions on food-related health concerns.”

Fur and skin conditions, obesity, bad breath and other minor pet maladies are affected by diet and nutrition, she said.

Customers can expect expert advice from Mud Bay, and staff members will be happy to provide a nutritional consultation for Fifi or Fido, Koonings said.

“Nutrition needs change over time, even for pets,” Koonings said.

Mud Bay will also offer a variety of seminars including raw pet food diets, proper harness and collar fitting, and how to create a stimulating environment, among other topics.

The new store will need a new set of “muddies,” she said, and the business will train new hires.

“We really want to hire local people,” she said, estimating that the store will hire about eight to 10 employees for the Island store.

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