Charleston is a wonderfully dog-friendly city and we should count ourselves lucky to be living in a place with lots of local businesses focused on improving the lives of our pets. We want to make sure you know about these awesome local companies so we’re starting a new blog feature – Local Spotlight. Our first local business we were so honored to be able to talk with was Dolittle’s!
Dolittle’s was founded in 1994 by Ric Sommons, starting out in the Charleston City Market and then moving to the Windermere shopping center in 1999. Ric has been expanding ever since – opening a store in Mount Pleasant and now he’s preparing for the opening of their newest store in Kiawah’s Freshfields Village. His vision for Dolittle’s was always to turn the tables on what a pet store was: he wanted to create a fun place to shop for your pets and he wanted to focus on providing pet owners with natural food.
Ric has a passion for encouraging pet owners to make the best choices for their pet, especially when it comes to their diet. He’s an advocate of feeding dogs a diet with as much protein as possible and minimizing the carbohydrates. He recommends choosing brands like Orijen and Acana due to their high protein content. Ric has become an expert on pet food by really immersing himself in the entire food manufacturing process and personally getting to know the people behind the pet food brands. He frequently travels to pet trade shows for merchandise and goes to see the manufacturing plants for the dog food he stocks. He’s been to Nebraska, Columbia, and is planning a trip to Kentucky to see the Acana dog food factory soon. He wants to ensure he’s stocking the best products for Dolittle’s clients and that he’s able to pass along knowledge about the food to his staff so they can educate the pet owners. If you stop in, they can provide you with a “Recommended Daily Feeding Amount” customized for your dog’s age, weight and activity level so you know you’re feeding them the proper amount.
Of course someone as passionate about animals as Ric has a furry crew at home. He has two cats, Hobbs and Domino, and he adopted two mixed breed dogs from the shelter, Peanut and Bobo. His philosophy on picking the perfect pet – “whatever dog pees on you!” and that’s how he formed his own furry family! He likes to have Dolittle’s help the local community – especially the Charleston Animal Society by donating food, gift cards, promo bags and helping with their fundraisers.
So what’s next for Dolittle’s? Ric says “world domination” or more seriously, he hopes to continue to “educate on the idea of natural food”. He says that he “would love to see kids getting behind the idea that protein is the way to feed your dog”. He’s also excited for Dolittle’s to start offering their own version of a localized BarkBox. They plan to create a mystery sample box for pet owners to buy – filled with great goodies from their stores that staff hand selects! Dolittle’s also offers awesome deals with things like their Dough Card, where when you spend $300, you get $25 off. When you combine that with the frequent buyer cards for most of their food bags, you can end up with a huge savings by shopping locally at Dolittle’s for your dog food.
Next time you are near the Windermere shopping center (or in Mount Pleasant by the Patriot’s Plaza shopping center, or at Kiawah’s Freshfields Village), stop in at the Dolittle’s store to pick up some goodies for your pet or bring them along to try the self-service bath! I promise that as soon as you walk in you’ll feel like you are in a heaven made just for pet owners and their pets!