NORMAN — A1 Pet Emporium has added a new location in Norman.
"We've been planning to come to Norman for about six years," A1 owners Brent and Trisha Clark said. "We're thrilled to finally be here."
A1's newest addition had its grand opening last weekend, which the Clarks said was an overwhelming success. Brent said the whole reason they brought a store to Norman was because of their customers.
"We were pleased with the turnout," Brent said. "We've had so many customers ask us, 'When are you coming to Norman.' So it was decided; we had to come."
According to the Clarks, the idea to open the pet food store came while the couple was trapped in their home during a 2009 blizzard and right after they discovered one of their three pugs had developed a serious allergy to dog food.
"We would take her to the vet, and they would just treat her symptoms. Trisha said. "We changed her food and saw an instant improvement."
Trisha said she and Brent felt like others were dealing with the same issues, so they decided to do something about it. The following February they opened their first store in northwest Oklahoma City at 2911 W. Britton Road.
"The last nine years have been fantastic," Trisha said.
The Clarks said when they opened A1, they did so with a two-fold mission: to educate consumers on healthy and natural foods for their pets and bring awareness to the local pet rescue organizations who work to find permanent homes for pets in the community.
To satisfy the first part of their mission, the store offers a variety of healthy pet food options for dogs and cats, including Earthborn and ProPac, which are made in Chickasha. And they all come with a 100 percent guarantee, Brent said.
"If you come in and buy something that -- for some reason -- isn't getting the job done, bring it back and we'll take care of you," he said. "Our customers are very important to us."
To complete the mission, the Clarks said they welcome animal rescues like The Underdogs Rescue Inc., who was at the store Saturday to help find animals loving homes.
"These animals just need a little TLC," said Meike Parker, The Underdogs Rescue founder.
Parker, who was born and raised in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 2015, said the idea to start the nonprofit came after she constantly saw animals roaming the streets near her work in Oklahoma City.
"I would just keep seeing one after another. They were alone and afraid; I felt like I had to do something," she said.
Parker said the animal rescue group started in 2013 with a handful of dogs and cats and that numbers has grown to about 85 today. Parker said the group has helped between 500 and 600 animals.
"We need foster homes," she said. "We provide everything but food, unless the animal requires a special kind of food, and TLC."
Anyone interested in fostering an animal through The Underdogs Rescue can email email@example.com or the organization on Facebook.
The A1 in Norman is in the Brookhaven Village Plaza, 3700 W. Robinson St., Suite 148A. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.