The city of Doraville’s Small Business Spotlight for the month of August highlights our community pet store, The PawStand. This store offers all-natural dog & cat food, treats, supplements, accessories, self-serve dog spas, and a canine rehabilitation and fitness center.
The PawStand was established six years ago (August 2015) by Jennifer Andreae (aka Dr. J) and Donna Raney. The owners, Jennifer & Donna, have a combined love and passion for giving our pets the best lives possible.
Jennifer first came to Atlanta from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to work as a Physical Therapist at the Shepherd Center, treating spinal cord injuries and acute brain injured individuals. She has worked for corporate America for 32 years in a number of physical therapy settings including sports medicine, amputee rehabilitation, outpatient orthopedics and industrial medicine.
Jennifer became interested in rehabilitating dogs years ago when her black Lab underwent surgery for hip dysplasia. It seemed only natural to apply her human physical therapy skills to rehabilitate her fur baby. The Veterinary Surgeon was amazed to see how fast her Lab progressed post operatively. He remarked, "I've never had a dog do this well this soon after surgery. What did you do?" Jennifer explained to him that she is a Physical Therapist, & she rehabilitated her Lab, just like human rehab. He said, "We should be doing this for all of our canine patients." The light bulb went off in her head, & Jennifer decided to alter her career path to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist.
Jennifer is a Physical Therapist and a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. She has always had a deep love for animals, especially dogs. Jennifer earned her master's degree of Physical Therapy from Georgia State University, and completed her Master’s thesis on exercise in an underwater treadmill system versus exercising on a land-based treadmill.
Donna moved to Atlanta in 1987. As an Army brat, she was born in Paris, France and moved multiple times through Europe and the U.S. At the age of 9, her roots were planted on a 52-acre farm in Arkansas in the valley of Petit Jean State Park. She and her family cultivated many gardens, raised cattle, chickens, and pigs. She was responsible for feeding the livestock before and after school in addition to working in the gardens. Donna always had pets and a love for animals. Her family lived off the land by consuming what they harvested as well as selling their livestock at state auctions. Their grass-fed beef was derived from heritage breeds of livestock which were nurtured from calves. Their beef, pork, free range chickens and eggs were free of antibiotics, steroids and hormones. Their food was of the highest quality that you could put on your table. Her dogs were fed all natural diets and always remained healthy.
As a young adult, Donna worked in the corporate arena in the airline and auto industry for 20 years with her pet sitting, dog training and web design business on the side. She was a webmaster for a female country music artist for 10 years and was awarded a Commemorative RIAA Certified Gold Album in 2006. Her pet sitting company did so well that she decided to part ways with corporate America and web design to give her full attention to her true passion. She owned and operated Pet Attention, LLC, a pet sitting business, on a full-time basis for 7 years. Donna always dreamed of owning a brick-and-mortar business where she could share her passion for pets and experience with natural nutrition in order to help people make better choices for their pets’ health and longevity.
The PawStand moved into the Village at Tilly Mill Crossing in 2015. They were one of only a few businesses in the plaza. Currently a new mixed-use development, Lumen Doraville, is underway right outside of their door.
“Doraville is an amazing cross-section of cultures” Donna told us.
“The diversity here is incredible and we count every single person who walks through our door as a member of our PawStand family.”
“When we started our business, we knew it had to be in a community that we believed in and that we loved. Doraville is that community for us."
While their business has been successful, the COVID-19 pandemic brought some challenges. "We were deemed an essential business by our Federal & local governments, but we closed down our self-service dog spas for approximately eight weeks” Donna said. "It had a pretty large impact on our bottom line.”
"We had always planned to upgrade our website to include an e-commerce store (with local delivery) but we decided (in light of the pandemic) to open up that site sooner than anticipated."
The PawStand website, www.thepawstand.com offers in-store pick-up, curbside pick-up, & local delivery around the city. They started this business because they have a passion to assist their fellow pet parents to find natural & holistic solutions for conditions that may affect their clients' pets.
And what advice would they offer to people looking to start their own business?
"Follow your passions & dreams" Dr. J & Donna told us. "Love what you do." "When your passion becomes your business, it is rewarding to be a service to your community.”