As we celebrate our 8th anniversary we looked to our founders, Mark Boonnark and Andrew Kim, and asked them about how Healthy Spot came about. Between helping to run the day-to-day operations of Healthy Spot and overseeing the opening of our 8th Healthy Spot in Manhattan Beach next month, we were able to get them to sit, stay and answer some questions about how they came to start Healthy Spot.
What Are Your Backgrounds?
- MB: I was working in an advertising agency (RPA). I decided to leave because I wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of animals.
- AK: I was working in a technology hedge fund (Finance). I adopted my dog Mia in 2007, the year of the largest pet food recall in the history of the industry. The recall affected thousands of products and killed thousands of pets. When looking for a brand of dog food to feed my newly adopted dog, my friends were recommending a lot of brands that were affected by the recall. I realized that there was a huge opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of animals and their families.
What Prompted You To Open Healthy Spot?
- MB: I always grew up with dogs and always had a passion for them. My last dog, Biscuit, died from cancer. He was fed higher end food from traditional big box retailers, but I never questioned ingredients or how it was made until the recalls. After doing some research into the brands of food that were available I discovered that there were a lot of great ones available that were not widely known. Brands like Primal Pet Foods, Small Batch, Stella & Chewy's and Champion that used high quality ingredients. Andrew and I came to the conclusion that we needed to bring more focus to these great brands and educate our customers on them.
Why Are You Such Big Advocates Of The Raw Diet?
- MB: Our goal was to bring back a level of customer service that has been lost in the modern day. Pets are now such an intimate part of our lives and shopping for them is not like going to a store to buy everyday household items. Deciding what type of food to feed your pet can be overwhelming and it’s important to educated customers on nutrition and what they should feed their pets. That is where raw and raw alternative products came from. We realized that there were a lot of great food brands out there that many people were not aware of. That is why we carry the food that we do.
- AK: We have continued to put the customer first and have made tough business decisions to stop carrying certain products. Even though the business decision to keep particular products would have resulted in significant sales. If the product fails to meet our standards, we discontinue it.
Do You Have Pets? What Kind?
- MB: I have a Parson Russell Terrier named Rosco and a Poodle mix named Cali.
- AK: I have three pets! A Boxer named Lucky, a Shitzu mix named Maya and Terrier Rot mix named Boo.
What Is Your Vision For The Future Of Healthy Spot?
- AK: We want to continue to inspire as many people as possible to live and advocate for Healthy Pet lifestyles. We want to continue to be in more communities in Southern California and beyond.
Any Fun Facts From When You Started?
- MB: We visited and even worked at various pet stores to gain experience. We learned a lot about the current business environment and what we could do to improve it!
- AK: I groomed our very first grooming customer. His name is Ajax and he still attends our Santa Monica daycare
Any Fun Facts About Yourself?
- MB: I'm a vegan.
- AK: I was an MC back in college.