EarthWise Pet Supply to open in April

Animal lovers Lisa Obregon (left), who is holding Chanel, and Kim Bonnesen, who is holding Bebe, are preparing to open EarthWise Pet Supply in April.

UPDATED — People are eating more natural foods these days, so it’s probably a natural follow that that’s what they’ll buy for their pets, too.

Kim Bonnesen and Lisa Obregon are opening EarthWise Pet Supply to sell pet food and supplies in 1,900 square feet at 327 N. Hillside, which is between Yamasa and Domino’s.

“We’ve been talking about doing a business together at least the last couple of years,” Bonnesen says.

Bonnesen owned Brint’s Diner for about a year a decade ago.

She says she decided if she ever owned her own business again, she wanted it to be a franchise.

“There is some support there,” she says. “Especially when you’re getting things going from the ground up.”

Bonnesen and Obregon started looking at franchises. They both have pets and liked the idea of EarthWise.

“It just kind of seemed like a natural fit,” Bonnesen says.

“It’s going to be your premium natural pet foods,” she says. “More healthy options for your pets.”

Obregon says they’ve taken training that has taught them much more than they previously knew about taking care of their own pets better.

“Pet nutrition is extremely important,” she says.

She says the right kind of food can help pets avoid allergies and even extend their lives.

“People love their pets … and they’re almost willing to do anything for them,” Obregon says. “I know we are.”

She says she and Bonnesen want to pass along what they’ve learned, which is part of why she wants to open the store.

“That’s one of my main reasons, was to educate the public.”

The store also will have a groomer and two areas for customers to wash their pets.

In addition to food, the store will carry pet supplies and treats.

“This is definitely a higher-end option,” Bonnesen says. “It’s not going to be pricewise what you would find at a grocery store.”

The store is known as Nature’s Pet Market on the West Coast and EarthWise everywhere else.

“They’re growing leaps and bounds,” Bonnesen says.

The Wichita store will be the 25th since the company began franchising six years ago. Another 20 will open in the next 18 months.

“Today is an exciting time,” says Daniel Webb, president and COO of the Portland, Ore.-based NPM Franchising.

Webb says he thinks pet owners are starting to see a need for higher-quality pet food to take care of their animals.

“We’re there to help them do that,” he says.

Obregon says a west Wichita store is likely along with possible ones in Lawrence and Kansas City.

“We’ll probably open one on the west side we’re thinking after maybe a year’s time or so.”

Their first EarthWise will open sometime in April.