Pet Naturals Store of the Month: The Big Bad Woof, a B Corporation!

By Karin Krisher

The Big Bad Woof has a reputation to uphold. It’s doing a great job with the big, and the woof is inherent. But the “bad?” We don’t think they can live up to that name.  It’s just too good! That’s why we’re happy to honor this store as the Pet Naturals Store of the Month!

The company recently opened a second store in Hyattsville, Md. and was able to achieve B corporation status. (The B stands for Benefit—more on that later). The first store, where we caught up with Senior Sales Manager Laura Christoplos, sits comfortably on the edges of Washington, D.C., a popular locale for dog lovers. With a steady flow of foot traffic and the loyalty of regular customers, The Big Bad Woof is on a fast track to success. It’s important to remember that here, success isn’t measured by profit.

A lot goes into being a benefit corporation. (For more on the concept, see this wonderful article in BBC business news that features The Big Bad Woof, and this excellent site that will help you fully understand the certification process.) On the ground level, though, “being a B corporation means working with local and ethical shelters and retailers, dealing with local products and choosing vendors based on ethics, not price,” says Laura.

Laura, who has been with the business for one year and involved with pet wellness for many more, says that the events the store hosts and the efforts and causes it supports are all a part of maintaining those values. The Big Bad Woof hosts adoption events nearly every weekend, providing discounts to adopting families. Another big piece of the company’s philosophy, says Laura, is education.

“We have a lot of in-store info (for our employees and customers) about nutrition in general and about specific products,” she says. At every monthly staff meeting, an educational program takes place. From vendors who talk about their products to vets who come to speak about animal wellness and their philosophy on nutrition, they’ve seen it all. Recently, a trainer talked about interacting with dogs appropriately, and a TTouch practitioner talked about calming techniques. Laura attempted recommended calming tactics with her “very high-strung dog, Lucy” and saw success.

Working at Big Bad Woof has benefits other than personal and professional education. The whole experience sounds wildly rewarding to us! Says Laura, “Someone came in looking for a product for a cat with serious stomach problems. We talked a lot about the cat’s behavior, and because of that conversation, the customer took the cat to the vet—right before kidney failure.” The reward of helping to save both the cat and the owner from the pain of this event makes working at The Big Bad Woof a real walk in the park!

As for the store’s relationship with Pet Naturals? We’re a hit. The shelves feature a good variety of our chews, but some of the most popular are Calming, Hairball and HIP + JOINT. Everyone agrees that one product stands out as the best seller, though: FLEA + TICK. And it isn’t hard to figure out why: in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, ticks are regular inhabitants—and our product is perfect for socially and environmentally conscious people and pets.

According to Laura, they make up a vast majority of Big Bad Woof customers. Her favorite part of the job, in fact, is “interacting with customers (both four-legged and two!) who really support the store, our values and our mission.”

Pet Naturals certainly does, and that’s why we’re proud to name The Big Bad Woof our July Store of the Month!