Homegrown Business: Jake and Tanya Giammarino of Discover Dogs

Discover Dogs is a dog retail store that specializes in nutrition. Their mission is to be an all-encompassing support system for families with dogs and cats. We had a great talk with owner Jake Giammarino to learn more about their business.

Discover Dogs

What is your business called and what does it do?

We’re Discover Dogs, a dog retail store specializing in nutrition, local and low-ingredient products, and low-processed food. We are lucky to be operating our business on the shared and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations, and other Hun’qumi’num’ speaking peoples.

What made you want to do this work?

We have a background in restaurants and saw a gap in the pet industry for customer service and educated, passionate employees. We wanted to provide a business that is picky about what we carry and where it comes from. We are also passionate about being good employers and aim to provide a good, positive work environment for our staff with fair compensation and a general outlook for their well-being.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

We saw a lack of education on dog nutrition, behaviour, and everything in between. People often get their info from their vet, a breeder, or the internet and we wanted to be a different trusted source of information in the community. Our goal was to help create healthier happier dogs and to strengthen the bond between the human and their pet through empowering our clients with knowledge about their dog’s needs. We want to staff the store with people who know enough about dogs and the products we carry so they can provide thoughtful, helpful advice for the myriad of problems people face when raising a dog.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Much like dog lovers themselves, our clientele comes from varied backgrounds. But generally speaking, our clients are looking to dig a little deeper into what they are purchasing for their dogs. They are people looking for a business they can trust to make recommendations and provide guidance throughout their dog’s life.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

On the surface we make money by selling retail products to people but really our ‘product’ is an inclusive, educated retail experience where our employees take a genuine interest in both serving you as a customer and solving your problems as a client.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

We’re in one of the hottest corners of the city at Kingsway and Fraser. And we have a recently updated website as well as offering local and nationwide delivery!

Discover Dogs

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Q: What goes into the decision-making process of bringing products into your store?

A: While demand for a product is one aspect we really vet our products and curate the ones we carry in-store carefully. We stand behind all the products we carry so it means we have to be picky about what we bring in. We pay attention to ingredients and processing levels. We pay attention to sustainability and packaging. We pay attention to sourcing and animal welfare. We pay attention to the ethics of the business and diversity in who they employ and how they operate. And we generally make decisions that are not just good for the business but good for the people who make it, the environment it is made in, and how it makes its way into our store.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part of what we do is when we can provide a missing piece of information to a client that helps solve a long-term problem with their dog. Sometimes it’s a diet change, sometimes it’s adding a supplement, sometimes it’s recommending a toy to distract the dog but when we see someone come in and say “Hey I just wanted to say thanks cause that recommendation made a big difference in my dog’s life”, those are the big moments for the staff.

Worst part is dealing with the prevalence of poor products and nutrition, as well as misinformation in the pet industry. While we all know more about appropriate food, gear, and training techniques for our dogs, it’s such a growing market that it’s hard for clients and stores alike to tease out what products our clients really need and what will benefit their dogs.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Most of the jokes around here revolve around how all the people that work with dogs tend to have dogs with a bunch of issues….like dog trainers, dogs are always poorly behaved…

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Youtube | Website

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Right now I’m loving following Victory Gardens on social media. Love how they are educating their clients to grow food in the city. Super cool!