“Mangy mutt” used to be a common expression, but if you’re unlucky enough to have a mutt with actual mange, Dena Gilmore can help you out. Her new west-side pet store, Wags to Wiskers, sells a product to treat that skin disorder, which causes hair loss in dogs, cats, and other pets. Gilmore puts a lot of emphasis on health care products, she says, because “our stores are about the whole animal, the whole pet.”
Gilmore launched her company in 2002, after eight years in purchasing for Ford, working six to seven days a week and traveling all over the country. “One day I was sitting in my hotel room in New Jersey, and I thought, I really want to do something in my life that brings meaning to myself and other people,” she recalls. “I thought, what do I love? I love animals, and I care about people, and I thought: pet supplies!” Within months Gilmore left Ford to open her first store in Saline. She’s sole owner of that location, and half-owner of a store in Chelsea; two other stores, in Gaylord and Dexter, are licensed to other owners. Two more stores are in the pipeline.
Gilmore says her purchasing background helps her find the best products at the lowest cost–everything from natural health care products to bird cages, and from pet food to beds. With 3,400 square feet in her new Ann Arbor location, she has room for dog obedience classes and other events too.
Gilmore came up with the logo, which features a cartoon dog and cat. The dog is Wags, and he’s mange-free. The cat is Wiskers. “It’s spelled without an ‘h’ deliberately because that’s the cat’s name,” Gilmore says. “It’s meant to reflect everyone’s pet, and the feelings that our pets give us, which are very happy.”
Wags to Wiskers, 2225 W. Stadium Blvd. 769-2000. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.