UPTOWN — While walking her dogs around Uptown, Jess Obis realized the neighborhood did not have a dedicated dog and cat pet store.
So Obis decided to take matters into her own hands. With the help of her two dogs, Obis opened Ox & Oona at 4407 N. Hazel St. to bring more resources and information to local pet owners.
“I thought Uptown deserved one,” Obis said of a dog-and-cat store. “I want to grow with the community and offer what they need.”
Uptown has a pet store — Curious Creatures — that specializes in reptiles. Ox & Oona is the first neighborhood pet store dedicated to cats and dogs, Obis said.
Ox & Oona had its grand opening July 31 on Hazel Street just north of Montrose Avenue. The storefront — a former hair salon that relocated around the corner — was perfect because it’s on the way to the Montrose Dog Beach and is on a residential street that is less intimidating to dog walkers, Obis said.
The name of the store comes from Obis’ two dachshund mixes, Oscar (“Ox”) and Oona. The later is a fixture of the store, greeting human and pet customers alike.
Ox & Oona carries a variety of dog and cat food, treats, toys and supplies. The store has a prominent “candy wall” which includes shelves of jars stuffed with pet treats. The wall has been a popular feature with those stopping in the store while on dog walks, Obis said.
“The first thing I had in mind was the candy wall for dogs,” she said. “I want to specialize in fun.”
On top of offering toys and treats, Ox & Oona has held events and product demonstrations, including a “beer for dogs” tasting session. Obis is also planning to hold training sessions, treat try-outs and even a pet owners book club.
“Retail, if it is going to stay afloat, is going to have to be really involved with the community,” she said.
Obis, who lives just south of the Uptown-Lakeview border, has 10 years experience working in retail and has also worked at a dog day care business. Ox & Oona is her first retail ownership venture.
Obis said the reception among Uptown pet owners has been positive. Ox & Oona has already won some four-legged fans too, as customers will frequently send photos of their dogs standing outside the store waiting for it to open, Obis said.
“It really makes my day,” she said.
Ox & Oona is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. It is closed Mondays. For more information, click here.
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