The K9 Shop, a local phenomenon in the raw dog food movement, has just opened its latest location in East Northport.
The new, franchise location opened at 370 Larkfield Road on April 22.
This is The K9 Shop’s fourth location, second franchise operation, and the very first one on the North Shore.
“Ive been a customer quite a while now,” said Michael Charity, 68, of St. James, a newly minted K9 Shop franchisee. “I love the product. Dogs do very, very well on raw food. I’ve had dogs on kibble that were always sick and at the vet, ear infections, skin problems.
“I switched over to raw, and all of those problems have gone away.”
How it happened
Robert Tucker of Bay Shore, who started The K9 Shop with his wife, Anya, grew their business as a passion project, from a garage to their first brick-and-mortar location in Massapequa in 2018.
They soon opened another store in Bohemia to better serve Suffolk County, and later partnered on their first franchise operation in Lynbrook. Click here to read their full story.
Along the way, Charity became a regular.
Like many regulars, he also became a friend.
So upon looking for something to do upon retirement, Charity inquired about opening his own K9 Shop closer to his home on the North Shore.
“I wanted to do something I was passionate about,” he said.
East Northport was the ideal location.
And for Tucker, Charity was the ideal owner.
“I liked the fact he was already a customer, he already understands raw, what species-appropriate food is all about, and he wants to spread the word,” Tucker said. “He is a true ambassador for the whole raw movement.”
It was also good for both to know the Lynbrook franchise shop has been so successful.
“They’re exceeding their numbers,” Tucker said of Lynbrook, “bringing in new clients every day while helping to spread the word, dealing with misconceptions and educating people.
“We believe that everything is healed from the inside out, and it starts with what they eat.”
All about raw
“It’s all about feeding them what they’re meant to eat,” said Anya Tucker. “Dogs were meant to be ripping and tearing. This is human-grade food, the only difference is it has bone and organs in it, which is where they get most of their vitamins and minerals.”
To that end, offerings at The K9 Shop include not only balanced meals, but bones, fish, farm eggs, whole prey and DIY raw chunks — with food also coming in from local farms. That includes duck necks, turkey necks, rabbit parts, and chicken feet, to name a few.
“This is as Mother Nature intended it,” Anya said. “People can see the results in their dogs’ health, coat, behavior. They see the dogs’ changes … yeast problems, ear problems, hot spots, gone. Their teeth are cleaner…
This is opposed to kibble, an actual trend that has lasted over a century.
Why kibble? Because it’s just too easy. Open the bag and pour.
“It was created as a convenience, just like McDonald’s was created for us,” Robert said. “People wanted something quick that they could dump in the bowl and get going. The difference is, we’re well aware McDonald’s isn’t good for us.” (And we would never eat it every day.)
A top priority for all K9 Shop employees is education, not only about the dangers and dark secrets of kibble and canned, cooked food — but the real benefits of raw, natural food and supplements.
Even though the shop in East Northport has opened, the education truly never stops for Charity, or anyone affiliated with The K9 Shop.
“If the dog owner is educated, they can make the right decision,” Charity said. “And maybe it’s not right for everybody, but at least they’re educated and can make the best decision possible.”
But he’s excited to keep learning.
“Also, I wanted a place where I can bring my dog to work everyday,” he said with a smile.
Top: Robert Tucker and Michael Charity, along with Charity’s 4-year-old Newfiedoodle, Andrew, at The K9 Shop in Bohemia. (Michael White)