Profile-Fido & Stitch
"I love being involved with the community. It’s been rewarding to meet so many strong women business owners and small business owners in general. We lean on each other…there is a really great network and we all help each other."
If you stop by Fido and Stitch you will most likely be greeted by Alli McDonough, the owner. She has a dynamic presence about her; kind and laid back with obvious business acumen. I loved picking her brain on the growing boutique.
The store itself is a great mix of holistic food options, beautiful sweaters, and unique toys. I like that I can walk in there and find items that I wouldn’t in the big box stores. You can tell that Alli has carefully curated her inventory to ensure they are as natural, local, and unique as possible.
Fido & Stitch filled a huge need for us when we moved here from Chicago. It was the local uniqueness for Paisley we were missing from our former city. Alli herself lived in Chicago for awhile and was inspired by some of her favorite local spots there. If you have a four legged family member, this is a necessary stop!
Where did you get the idea behind Fido and Stitch? What was your goal in starting it?
It was really the merging of two events. First, I was finishing my MBA program and wondered what I was going to do with it. I am not really a corporate person…being my own boss sounded like a perfect fit. Going through the program I felt as though I had the tools to do that. The other event was a trip to Chicago to visit friends. We went to a dog boutique there and I thought, “why don’t we have one of those in Grand Rapids?”
That’s what started it all. I brought the idea up to my husband…I had all these ideas that I wanted to tell him. His response was that I needed to do it. He has been a huge support in all of this too. I love the aspect of my hard work directly benefiting the success of the store.
Where did the name Fido & Stitch come from?
I didn’t want a name that was your typical dog pun. I was going for something a bit more upscale and boutique feeling but still friendly. I thought Fido was a fun dog name and the wod stitch came in thinking of the bouqiue aspect of our business (stitch in clothing, accessories).
What made you choose this particular area in Grand Rapids vs. others?
Actually, I was not looking in this area but my realtor was helping with the retail placement of this building and thought I should see it. I researched the other developments in the area and kept finding other businesses that would also need good foot traffic. I also realized that many of the apartment buildings in this area are dog friendly and that the store could be a great place for all of them. I started to realize that it’s an up and coming neighborhood. When I walked in it was exactly the industrial space that I was looking for. From the wood, metal beams, brick wall…it was the ambiance I had been picturing. The location has worked out great. People that work downtown will stop by on their lunch hour or a quick errand to pick up a few things. Residents from this building and others still stop by as well but we also get people from all over West Michigan which is great.
You carry a lot of products that you can’t find in some of the big box stores (specifically local and natural products, yay!) What are some of your favorites?
Fluff and Tuff are really popular. Chilly Dog sweaters are hand knit sweaters that are really great. I like that they have them for large dogs too. You aren’t always able to find accessories that actually fit larger dogs so I like that they aren’t size restricted. Olly Dog is another popular one; they make travel and adventure products like their Olly Bottle, running leashes, belts, and treat pouches.
In general, we like to focus on local, natural products. For example the West Paw beds are made primarily out of recycled products. We have a great food and treat selection of meat first, limited ingredient, holistic products.
The salon is a large aspect of your store as well. What services do you offer that dog owners can take advantage of?
We have grooming seven days a week. We actually just hired another groomer to help Stephanie* so that we have coverage all week. We are open Saturday and Sunday and have hours until 7 pm during the week; the wide range of availability has been helpful for clients. I think that our style of grooming sets us apart as well. We don’t have kennel while they are waiting so it’s an individualized, small scale grooming session. They aren’t going to be sitting in a cage waiting for the groomer. The attention and focus is on your dog vs. some places that run more like an assembly line.
*I’m sure their entire grooming staff is amazing but Stephanie is who cuts our dog Paisley’s hair. She is FAB. Paisley has never been that fond of the groomer and historically would take a couple days to bounce back after a cut. Since taking her to Fido and Stitch, she has been a much happier girl when she comes home. We are so grateful to have found a place that makes her feel so comfortable!
Who are the pets in your life?
Fiona is typically here about half the time. She’s the shop dog…you can follow her on Instagram #fionatheshopdog. Sparkle is our home protection system. She is a little Chihuahua mix.
What’s your favorite part of being a small business owner?
Aside from having the freedom to make my own decisions, I love being involved with the community. It’s been rewarding to meet so many strong women business owners and small business owners in general. We lean on each other…there is a really great network and we all help each other. I am aware that without each other we wouldn’t be as successful. I want to see them succeed because I know that will help my own success as well.
It’s amazing to know that our store is helping build this community and making people happy; that it’s filling a need. It means so much to me when someone comes in to express that ‘Grand Rapids needed this’ or that they love the store. When I hear that someone enjoys us being in their neighborhood or this city it makes me feel incredibly fulfilled.
FACEBOOK: Fido & Stitch