By Darren Lum
Minden’s Pet Tyme has always had a love of animals at the core of the business and that isn’t going to change, says new owner Susan Andresen.
From behind her store’s counter, Andresen’s 100-watt smile illustrates the joy she has for animals and for the business focused on furry, scaly or feathery loved ones. She’s had strong support from friends and customers since taking over from previous owner Lynne Brethour on Oct. 1, indicated by bouquets of flowers adorning the counter.
Andresen said her love of animals started as a child when she would take in and help wounded and dying wild animals as a response to her parents, who didn’t permit pets. As the manager of the Minden Mercantile and Feed Company for the past six years, she isn’t new to running a retail business. Andresen loved running the feed store, but knew it was time to seize the opportunity when she learned she could help to keep what was started by Brethour going.
“We just sort of felt it was the next step for our family so we can own it. So we can grow it for the kids,” she said.
Andresen runs a hobby farm in Burnt River with her husband of 17 years and their two teenage children, Erika and Matthew. They all love animals. She and her husband met for the first time at the Toronto Humane Society.
Pet Tyme will be a family-run business, with her husband and children helping out, as they did at the feed store. Their message to the community is “We would like to welcome all customers of [Brethour’s] and all new customers and all of my favourite people are all animal crackers, right? Everyone who has pets is my kind of person,” she said, laughing.
After close to three decades in business, Brethour said she would be retiring. She provided a prepared statement through email to the Times: “Over the period of time that I owned Pet Tyme, [thousands] of patrons came through the door. Some were just passing through on their way to another destination; some came only to browse not only the shop, but the town as well, later buying and moving here. They all were and are special. One learns so much from them all. You see their children, and their pets grow, mature and in some cases their children as well. They were all members of a huge family which in turn becomes the community as a whole. Some have become lifelong friends. So as one door closes, and another one opens, I wish each and every one of you adieu. Whether you have four feet or two. God bless. Thanks for the memories, Lynne, Ruby, and Miss Daisy.”
Brethour was a stalwart in the animal products retail scene, having owned and operated her store for 31 years. She started in the North Durham Region in 1989 and then moved to Minden in 2001.
The value of family for Andresen has influenced new hours of operation, which will include closures on holidays and Sundays so she can spend time with her family instead of at 12281 Highway 35.
Walk into the store, located in the same building as a gas station, hair salon and bowling alley, and you’ll be met with packed shelves filled with products for the vast array of animals such as dogs and cats, lizards and birds. With a special place for horses in her heart, the graduate of the veterinary technician program at Seneca College has added equine products to the in-store selection. She was excited about receiving her first order of well-known Purica products for horses. She hopes to add Purica products for dogs, cats and humans. For customers who don’t see what they want, Andresen encourages them make an order with her. Customers can find discounts on products posted to the store’s Facebook page.
Although she has ideas for growing the business, they will not include competing with other animal product retailers such as her past employer and Paulmac’s Pets in Minden, but rather collaborate and foster economic prosperity for everyone.
“We want to keep everyone shopping in Minden, you know? So if I can get the highway people, you know that sort of thing, and keep them from driving north or south [that’s good],” she said.