Angel Duratti's Pet World labor of love
Angel Duratti’s new mega pet store in Hudson aims to beat the chain outlets with count-on-it expertise, "one of us" service and sales driven by people, not corporate edicts.
At her 8,500-square-foot Angel’s Pet World in the River City Center on Second Street, customers won’t have to worry about where the animals come from or how healthy they are, Duratti promises.
They won’t have to worry that maybe the staff doesn’t fully know what it’s talking about when it comes to pets, pet products and special health and behavior problems.
They won’t even have to worry about whether they’re getting the best selection and price.
“Sometimes, there’s a perception that because we’re local and independent, our prices are higher and we can’t offer as much, which is not true. It’s a myth,” Duratti explains two days before the store's June 28 grand opening.
“We are totally competitive in every way. Price, selection, availability ... everything.”
The difference is that Angel’s Pet World, currently the only full-service pet store in Hudson, really cares and knows what it’s doing –- with its wide-ranging products and services; its connections to local vets, rescue centers and other resources; its staff training and experience; and its links to the local community.
“We run our business as a family and we treat every customer as if they were our family,” Duratti explains. “The pets, especially, are family to us because they truly are our customers too, you know.”
Duratti, who runs Angels’ Pet World with her husband Al, doesn’t just talk about a family atmosphere either. She walks the walk every day:
“My husband and I truly believe the reason we’ve been successful is that I really am here all the time. I love them -- the dogs, the cats and every type of pet we have here with us. And I love working because I really want to be here. That’s true of each and every employee we have.”
So you won’t find any punch-the-clock types at Duratti’s new store, a smaller version of which opened in River Falls in 2010.
Experience and training
All of the employees have been with the Durattis for “at least a year or more,” and everyone gets training updates –- often from area vets -- every three or four months on everything from nutrition and health to behavior problems and general care.
“So we know that we’re giving the customer the correct information,” Duratti says. “We also know when not to overstep. We know that sometimes we need to send a customer to the veterinarian. We have the utmost respect for vets.”
Everyone at Angel’s Pet World is local too, even the store’s mascot, a huge parrot named Big Bird, who punctuates Duratti’s Star-Observer interview with outbursts now and then from his perch near the store’s entrance.
“Besides our selection, people who come in will notice the care and cleanliness of the animals,” she says over Big Bird’s sporadic chatter.
“They’ll also notice the feel of the entire environment here and, of course, the knowledge we have… What sets us apart, number one, is our knowledge and service.”
That starts with Duratti herself, who has five dogs and two cats of her own -- all rescued animals –- and who has worked in the retail pet business for the last 29 years.
Her first job was in the pet department at a Farm and Home outlet in Schofield at age 15. She later transferred to Doyle’s Farm and Home Ace Hardware in New Richmond, managing the store until 2001, when she decided to devote herself to opening a pet shop of her own.
Al, too, has 22 years of experience “on the distribution end of the pet business,” Duratti notes.
“We also set ourselves apart because of our loyalty to the animals and our loyalty to our customers,” she says. “We’re community-driven. We love being part of anything that goes on here. We like to be involved in community events, and we support local businesses and programs.
“So when local customers come in, they’ll know that we truly are one of them.”
The live-animal specialties at Angel’s Pet World are dogs, cats, aquatics, birds, reptiles and other small creatures. When it comes to products and food, “we have everything you need, and anything you don’t see, we can special-order,” Duratti says.
Services include animal training; a self-wash area, where customers can clean their own best friends themselves; pet grooming; cat and dog rescue/adoption stations; and much more. Small-dog play groups will start in July, as will delivery service, Duratti says.
For more information, go to www.angelspetworld.com, or call (715) 386-6740.
The Hudson store is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rest assured, Angel Duratti will be there all week long.
“I come every day to work, and I love every day –- the busier the better,” she says. “We all thrive here. I think it’s because we all love what we do.”