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Unleashed, the Dog & Cat Store

Locally owned and operated stores, offering the best supplies at the best prices for every dog and cat!

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About Unleashed

 

Unleashed is a small, privately & locally owned and operated company with locations in Raleigh, Cary, and Wilmington, NC, striving to provide "the best a dog can get," at reasonable prices!  We really want every dog to be as happy and healthy as ours.

 

Our Story:

 

Unleashed began February 24, 2007 at the NC State Fairgrounds Marketplace, with one table, one display stand, and a garden umbrella.  We quickly expanded our little "shop" and later added our online store.  In October 2007, we were invited to the NC State Fair, and business kept growing.  Thanks to our families, our loyal customers, and our Marketplace family we had surpassed our wildest expectations for the first year!  

 

Motivated by a great year and awesome customers, we decided that we needed to be open 7 days a week.  Thus, Unleashed, the Dog Store, was born.  On April 8, 2008, Unleashed became an LLC, and we began our hard work turning a dollar store into a dog store.  It wasn't easy.  We spent 10 days just doing the floor!  The old carpet had to go, and so did 30 years’ worth of carpet glue, tile glue, and whatever else was coating the concrete floors over the years. 

 

After the floor, the rest was easy.  Lots of paint, glue, nails, screws, and anything else we could run up on our new Lowe's card.  But with the best team (thanks especially to my mom and dad) we got it done and opened our doors at Lake Boone Shopping Center on June 2, 2008!  Just over a month later we celebrated our Grand Opening and haven't had a dull moment since.  We love our new neighborhood and our old friends as well.  We wouldn't be here without all of you.  So, keep the sloppy kisses and wagging tails coming!

 

Ever since the doors opened, we have been blessed with such amazing, supportive, and loyal customers that business has been growing daily!  In the late summer of 2010, we were presented with an opportunity to expand our business into North Raleigh, and thus began the painting and fixing up process yet again.  Fall 2010 was a busy time with getting the new location ready while still attending the NC State Fair during October and hosting our busiest party ever for Halloween!  November 1, 2010 we officially opened our second location in Stonehenge Market just in time for the holidays.  Yet again, our new neighborhood has been wonderful to us and we are looking forward to our 4th year in business thanks to all of you! 

 

The owners, Amy & JP continued to work in both stores, but we couldn't do it all by ourselves.  Fortunately, our sister/sister-in-law, Jamie began working with us while in college and her fiancé became involved too as the years went on.  Little did any of us know that their part-time college job would turn in to both of them being full-time managers.  Jamie became the manager our Lake Boone location, and Hilal (now her husband) became the manager of our Stonehenge location.  As we grew to two stores, we found ourselves needing even more help and one of our very first customers, Katie, became an assistant manager.

 

Amy being a UNCW alumni and both Amy and JP having lived in Wilmington, we visited the area often.  Every time we would go to Wilmington, we would drive past the Landfall Shopping Center and talk about how great it would be if we could have a store there.  One day we were telling Katie about how much we would love to have a store there, but we just didn't know how it could be possible, and she mentioned that she would be willing to move to Wilmington!  We talked with her about if a few months later and she was still interested!  Our dream was about to come true!  Katie would move to Wilmington and become the full-time manager of our Landfall store, and we would get to live in Raleigh and Wilmington, and enjoy the best of both!  And so, the work began again.  We painted, and built, and worked ourselves ragged to get the new store open by April 1st, 2012 (again with much help from family and friends!)  

 

So now, we have two residences, one in Raleigh and one in Wilmington, and work in each city!  We work 7 days a week right now, but it is a labor of love.  Every time a customer gives us a personal testimonial about how we have helped their dog (recover from the worst skin problems, stomach issues, allergies, and more), or even how much their dog loved a toy they got from us, it makes it all worth it. 

 

I can't leave out the rest of our family.  When Unleashed was founded in 2007, we had one dog, Benny.  Shortly after founding the business, while still running a booth at the flea market, we adopted another dog, Mr. Vixen.  As our cat business grew, we decided (in 2010) that we needed some official cat product testers, and thus headed to the shelter and adopted two adorable kittens, Wesley and Buttercup.  With our four furry babies, we already considered ourselves a "mom and pop" store, but we became a more traditional "mom and pop" with the birth of our baby boy, Walter, on January 1st, 2012.  Almost 2 years later, we welcomed our second baby boy, Henry, on December 23rd 2013.  

 

In 2013, with the pushing of a few good customers, we decided to take a look at opening a store in Cary.  While visiting the area on a rare "day off," we fell in love with an empty space in the Crescent Commons shopping center.  As timing would have it, Katie, who moved to Wilmington to manage our store there, felt pulled back to Raleigh for personal reasons, and was excited at the opportunity to open another new location with us!  So, again we found ourselves faced with more painting, more work, and a very hectic October of doing the State Fair and working on getting a new location ready.  We did it, and opened our Cary store November 2013.  (We also moved all of the paperwork out of our home and into an office in late summer 2013.)  And, I almost forgot, we were sold a kiosk at Crabtree Valley Mall that summer too! 

 

We spent 2014 focused on our then 5 locations, office, and 2 very young children.  Also, late 2014, our managers, Jamie & Hilal, announced that they were expecting their first human puppy.  With the upcoming addition the family, Jamie moved to the office and Hilal was promoted to "District Manager" overseeing both Raleigh locations.  We were happy to promote Brianna and Matt to Head Assistant Managers of the Stonehenge and Lake Boone stores respectively, to be Hilal's right hand "man" so to speak.  On June 10th, 2015, baby Joey officially joined the family.

 

Shortly after, we had another exciting announcement: Last year we were presented with a potential new location that we couldn’t help but consider. Although we weren’t necessarily looking to expand, this space had intrigue, charm, and sentimental value. In fact it was our runner up when we looked for our very first location over 7 years ago! The space itself hadn’t changed much over the years, but the surrounding area had changed quite a bit, and for the better. As the months went by, we found ourselves frequenting the shopping center restaurants and talking about the possibilities. We decided it was only fair to consider other spaces too, but all the signs kept pointing towards this former “runner up” space. Eventually we couldn’t ignore the signs, and decided that fall 2015 would be the perfect time to open up the 6th location of Unleashed in Downtown Raleigh, at City Market (across from Moore Square.) We immediately got to work painting and filling the store with all of our dog’s and cats’ favorite things. Grand opening was September 4th 2015!

 

It sure has been a busy 8 years so far, and we look forward to many more to come! We will continue to work as much as possible in each of our stores, as we love to be involved and get the most enjoyment from helping our customers.  But, we are also behind the scenes as well (someone has to do the taxes and other "business") so if you don't see us, feel free to send us an email, or ask one of our wonderful managers for help (they're all awesome)!

 

With now 7 locations and 3 little kids (and still trying to do everything ourselves) this story might get updated someday!  We are excited to announce our latest adventure, partnering with a non-profit Animal Adoption & Outreach Center, and will post more soon!