From the moment you walk into Mother Nature Pet Supply in Manlius, you can tell that something’s different. As customers enter, they are greeted by the bubbly owner, Carla Dellacontrada. Like clockwork, immediately after they gravitate over to say hi to her dog and “coworker” Buddy, who is sleeping in the corner. It’s a routine that you can tell Dellacontrada is happy to fall into. It’s apparent that firstly, she loves animals, and secondly, she loves people that love animals.
“[Customers] know that I’m here to spend time with them, talk about their pets, hopefully they bring their pet in with them, and we build a relationship. It’s very different from other pet stores where you go in, buy what you need, and leave. Here, it’s a completely different experience.”
And that’s why she opened Mother Nature Pet Supply a little over a year ago. Dellacontrada earned her degree in business management and had been working in retail before she seriously started to consider the idea of opening her own store.
The final straw was when she starting doing research about dog food for Buddy, who has digestive issues. What she discovered was that a lot of the big- name brands contain certain byproducts, fillers, and artificial colors and flavorings that are really bad for animals. Dellacontrada then decided to open her own store and sell only natural dog and cat foods and quality toys. Additionally, she included a section for small pets like guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, fish, and rats.
She says that some people come into the store looking for pet food brands like IAMS and Beneful, and she explains to them about the bad ingredients and why she doesn’t have them in stock.
“It’s like with a person. If you feed your child McDonalds every day, he’s going to get sick. It’s the same thing with your pet. And a pet is a family member, you want them to live and be a part of your family as long as you can” she said.