Julia Rosenfeld may not be the owner of —that distinction goes to Tracy Klonowski—but as manager and a five-year veteran shopper at this pet store a stone's throw away from , she certainly knows her stuff.
That means catering to a diverse crowd of Brooklyn pet lovers, who despite economic hard times, are still committed to providing the best for their dogs and cats.
On a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, we took a moment to chat with Rosenfeld and her "awesome" employee Dana O'Brien.
Patch: Times are tough. What has been your experience in how people's buying habits have changed over the last couple months and years?
Rosenfeld: Everyone is definitely focused on the price of things but people are—especially those live in this community and come to this store—they are focused on providing the best food and making sure that their pets have the right things. So everyone is still, even though they might complain occasionally about the price, they are still willing to spend the money to get quality ingredients for their dogs and cats.
Patch: In general, would you say that in terms of pet food, more expensive is better?
Rosenfeld: Not necessarily. It really depends on the company. I think one of the best brands we carry is Orijen, and it's really high-protein, really high-quality ingredients and it's not that much more expensive than some of the other brands that aren't as high quality. And when you feed your animals high quality ingredients, you don't have to feed them as much food. So you end up not buying food as often so you end up saving some money that way.
Patch: We've heard a lot about the locavore and organic food movement for people. Has that affected food for pets?
Rosenfeld: A little bit. People when they come in, they ask for organic food. Generally when people ask that, they're just looking for high quality ingredients. We don't have that many organic-certified foods here. But we do have a lot of high quality foods, so even though it's not certified organic ... It's very good quality.
Patch: In your estimation, what percentage of Fort Greene residents are dog people and what percentage are cat people?
Rosenfeld: That's a really hard question because we are right by Fort Greene Park so we do get a lot of the dog park folks, so I would say between 9 and 10 a.m. we are 95 percent dog people. The rest of the time we are probably three-quarters dog people. I'm a cat person myself, so maybe I can skew the numbers a little.
Patch: The store has been holding "socials" for dogs and people at the store. What's the goal of these events?
Rosenfeld: So basically we are kind of the neighborhood hangout for dogs and dog walkers and people with dogs. People will come by every day even if they don't need to buy something. They come by to say, "Hi," they come by to get snacks ... I just wanted to make it a little bit more formal and officially invite everyone to hang out. The first one was awesome. It officially started at 8, and at 7:59 there were already 20 dogs here. People are really excited to be part of this dog and Fort Greene community.
The next "happy hour" for dogs will be on Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. Cupcakes will be provided by . Who's Your Doggy? is located at 197 Adelphi St. near Willoughby Avenue.