Spot the Shop: Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique prides itself on customer service
When Kim Weeks walked into Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique more than a decade ago, she had no intentions of buying the store.
That changed after a two-hour conversation with then-owner Sandi Rector.
“By the time I left we were both convinced that whether it was fate or whatever, I was supposed to be there that day and ended up buying the store from her,” Weeks said. “So here it is 10 1/2 years later, and we’re going to be celebrating our 20 years next year.”
Weeks, who works in the pharmaceutical industry, said she had no idea how she was going to manage balancing her day job with being a business owner, but she bought Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique in April 2012.
Six weeks later, Rector died from melanoma. Weeks said when she bought the store, Rector didn’t know her prognosis, but was looking for the right person to sell the store to. According to Weeks, Rector had turned down other offers because she didn’t feel like they were the right fit.
Rector started the business selling her bakery treats at a bed and breakfast. When she opened her store on Cherry Street 20 years ago, she added pet supplies to her roster as well.
Ten years later, Weeks came along, bought the store and has since tripled its sales.
Despite their sales record, Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, much like many other businesses.
“I have three employees, so it was very important for me to be able to continue to pay them and keep them on payroll during the time when a lot of businesses were closed,” Weeks said. “We had to rethink how we were doing business at that time so we could still service our customers.”
To do this, the store shifted to online and phone orders. They would make appointments for customers to come in and shop by themselves and personally deliver items that were ordered.
This customer-oriented way of doing business is something Weeks prides herself on.
“The level of customer service we provide our customers is very different,” Weeks said. “We take the time to educate our customers on our products and it’s just a really good customer service experience, where if you go to PetSmart or another store, you’re not going to get that same level of customer service. We go out of our way for our customers.”
Even though they have fully reopened from the pandemic, Weeks said Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique still makes deliveries at no charge for local customers.
She said she has worked hard to build a local customer base. Weeks said many locals feel that downtown Black Mountain is where the tourists go and do not want to venture there themselves, but she wanted to show that Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique is different from big box pet retailers in that they carry locally made products as well as things you could find in big box stores.
Weeks said her favorite park of owning the store is getting to see all the different animals come in. She has seen animals ranging from dogs and cats to lizards, turtles, pigs and goats.
In addition to pet products, Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique also sells products for owners including T-shirts, mugs and art.
“It’s just a fun place for not only pets, but people who love animals and who love their pets,” Weeks said. “There’s things in the store for them as well, not just for the dogs and cats.”