Smart Partners

Doodle Dogs

This Local Business Puts Furry Friends First, Online or In-Store

When two siblings decided to start their own business, they did so with an expanded definition of family—one that wholeheartedly included their pets. Meghan Huchkowsky and her brother, Corey White, knew when they started their Calgary-based business, Doodle Dogs, they weren’t alone. The shop specializes in fresh and raw food and supplements—everything you need to help your dog lead a happy, healthy life—as well as local, high-quality, even artisan accessories.

The pair opened their first boutique in 2016 and grew rapidly, opening two new locations and an online store in under four years. The push for that growth came from their mutual passion for the work. “We decided we wanted to do something unique,” says Meghan, who, along with her brother, previously worked in oil and gas. Both pet owners themselves, (the business is named for Corey’s Boston Terrier Maggie, aka: Magnadoodle) Meghan and Corey knew that what they personally looked for in pet products was missing in their local market.

“The modern day pet parent is someone who values their fur children as actual children,” said Meghan. “They want to treat them like family and that’s where we come in.”

Calgarians flocked to their first storefront in Parkdale—the only space the pair ever imagined they would run. “I learned never say never when you’re a new business owner,” says Meghan. “You do what makes sense.” The bricks and mortar growth, accompanied by the popularity of their online store, meant Doodle Dogs required fast and reliable internet service to keep up with demand. “We consider our online store as another store itself, because it’s just as busy,” says Meghan. “That online presence and delivery service allow us to reach all across the city.”

Shaw Business has always been consistent and reliable.

Meghan Huchkowsky, Co-owner of Doodle Dogs

How a growing business connects its network of shops to bring you everything you need with reliable Internet

The pair went with Shaw Business Internet initially because they were both lifelong customers. “You could call it our house brand name,” joked Meghan. But the consistent reliability, and multiple seamless installations in the new locations cemented the choice in their minds. “We operate with Shaw Business both in-store and online, so that really shows the reach that Shaw’s been able to give us in terms of support.”

Without that reliability, they wouldn’t be able to operate their POS systems in-store, there would be no access to the company’s rewards program which offers loyal customers cash-back, and they wouldn’t be able to update their inventory, promos, and sales prices online, something that helps keep their business strong.

“Right now we’re doing well because of our online store,” says Meghan. “And because everyone got a puppy!”

Since customer service is so important to the Doodle Dogs team, a major plus of having three locations is the ability to share resources to make sure that whatever size, colour, or flavour needed, they can make it available to the customer.

A shelf full of various colourful dog toys
Business owners sit at a table outside their shop

“All the stores work in tandem, with a really good relationship between the three,” says Meghan. Inter-store communication is nearly constant, another reason why reliable, speedy internet is paramount to their customer service model. “There’s an internal chat tool which they use to leverage each other’s inventories to make sales. They check what’s available and provide customers with options,” says Meghan.

“Through all that, Shaw Business has always been consistent and reliable,” says Meghan. And when you’re a small business owner, creating a smooth, memorable experience can make all the difference. “When you have an amazing connection with someone and then they come back, or tell a friend, that’s huge because that means they’re willing to stand behind the brand because of the experience they had.”

At the end of the day, Corey and Meghan are interested in making sure your furriest family members have everything they need to be happy, so you can be happy. “The passion has to be there,” says Meghan.

The two animal lovers know that feeling well, in fact they were raised to bring that level of care with them into everything they do. "The thing about working with family is you grew up with the same values, so you bring the same values into your business."