Sharing a passion for pups
By ANNESOPHIA RICHARDS » Photos by G. FRANK HART
When Katie and Andy Comer welcomed a Pekingese poodle puppy into their home in 2008, they had no idea their new four-legged child would one day become the inspiration for a small business. Dog lovers since childhood, Andy, a Wilmington firefighter, and wife Katie were surprised by just how quickly their dog Sidney changed their world. For over a decade, Sidney’s unwavering love and loyalty made the Comers appreciate each day a little more, and last year the couple opened Best Day Ever Dog Boutique in hopes of sharing their passion for her and all dogs with the Wilmington community.
The idea of opening a dog boutique first came to Andy when he realized how much his wife cared about the well-being and happiness of every dog who crossed her path. Having worked part-time at a local dog store for several years, Katie loved working with animals and helping pet owners discover the benefits of good nutrition. Although hesitant to open a business, Katie trusted her husband’s instincts and took a leap of faith. On February 1st, 2019, Best Day Ever Dog Boutique opened its doors in Racine Commons Plaza.
Katie chose the name ‘Best Day Ever’ as a nod to Andy and his special relationship with Sidney. Knowing their dog won’t be around forever, Andy never lets a day go by without dedicating a bit of it to making Sidney as happy as she can be.
“I tell her every morning it’s going to be the best day ever, because she’s only here for so long,” says Andy. “It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or freezing out. If she wants to go for a walk, I’ll never say no.”
“Our name is very personal and means a lot,” says Katie. “In turn we want to make it the best day ever for every dog that comes in here.”
Both Comers believe better food creates healthier dogs. Their boutique carries three lines of premium dog food from family-owned companies: Pure Vida, Nutri Source, and Fromm. All made in the USA, the food contains no byproducts, no fillers, and is cooked at low temperatures to avoid nutrient burn out.
“It’s really about helping dogs,” says Andy. “If a dog’s itching or suffering from hot spots, we try to help with some good food and treats. Many people come back in and say their dog is like a different dog, not itching or having digestive issues anymore. We want to carry the best stuff we can and keep it affordable. That’s our mission.”
The store’s open layout is welcoming and intentional, with wide areas for customers and their dogs to comfortably browse products without fear of maneuvering through tight spaces or around other dogs. A television hangs above the front counter and rotates a constant stream of dog photos submitted by proud customers.
“It’s important to make our customers feel like a million dollars every time they come in,” says Katie. “When a customer is shopping and they look up and see their dog on TV, they just light up.”
The Comers offer several exclusive lines in the boutique, including the premium pet grooming line Spina Organics. The collection includes dog and cat body washes, conditioners, fur refreshers and treatments, all of which are 100% natural, vegan, and sulfate and paraben-free. Another popular product is Purelix, a pesticide-free, organic CBD Oil line processed here in Wilmington. The store also carries locally handmade bandanas and dog clothing, unique toys, birthday celebration items, a mix-and-match treat bar, and a wide variety of seasonal and holiday products and treats.
“People love coming in and finding something they haven’t seen before,” says Katie. “We want to make our boutique unique and offer lots of fun things.”
Another exciting element of the boutique is the K9000, a self-serve, automated dog wash machine that allows owners to shampoo, condition, flea-treat, and blow dry all at their own pace. When finished, Katie and Andy are waiting to reward the pups with treats for a bath time well done.
“It’s a great addition to the boutique because it brings people and their dogs into the store. After their bath, we give the dogs some treats and make sure it’s the best day ever for them,” says Andy. “It isn’t about money for us, it’s about making people and dogs happy and treating them well.”
The Comers have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve felt from the Wilmington community, and in turn their hope is to use the boutique as a platform to give back. In an effort to help homeless pets find forever homes, the Comers host rescue events and adoption meet-and-greets inside the boutique, as well as raise money for organizations such as the SAVEDOG Project. In addition, the couple also partners with Cape Fear Community College’s grooming program and offers the boutique as the location for a hands-on grooming lab at the end of each course.
Katie and Andy agree opening Best Day Ever was the best decision they’ve ever made, and they are determined to brighten the day of every customer and dog that walks through their doors.
“The best feeling in the world is when you see a dog dragging their owner into the boutique,” says Andy. “Our goal is to develop genuine relationships and treat everyone like a friend. For us it’s all about happy dogs, happy people, and happy days.” 910-399-1272, bestdayeverdogboutique.com