Sunday, March 8, 2009

Parker's Pets

posted by chicago pop

Our roving reviewer recently dropped into the new pet boutique in Hyde Park, Parker's Pets. From an admittedly dog-centric perspective, we both agree that Parker's Pets is a needed amenity, and helps prevent the somewhat isolated retail island on 55th between Kenwood and South Ridgewood Court from fading into gray shabbiness. (Cat and other pet owners feel free to offer your opinions on things we have overlooked.)

Parker's Pets presents an excellent selection of premium foods, toys, and clothing, with its food selection singled out by our reviewer as the best in Chicago. Less strong are the merchandising and service, which may strike visitors as drab and indifferent, respectively. Prices are in line with competitors, though not with Internet options. For some shoppers, the prices may be compensated for by a neighborhood delivery service, in addition to the simple convenience of a centrally located pet store in Hyde Park.

Parker's Pets shines in its selection of pet foods that you can't get at the supermarket, such as Merrick, Solid Gold, Wellness, Fromm's, and others. They offer a substantial selection of fresh-baked treats for dogs, something hard to find outside of specialty pet bakeries. Frozen raw meals are also available. Equally strong is the selection of clothing, clever toys, and useful gear. Our reviewer made a point to note that Parker's Pets keeps Lupine brand leashes in stock, the sturdiest and best guaranteed leash in the business.

In terms of merchandising, the layout and displays are utilitarian, and do not convey the same sense of boutique artistry evident on entering Zaleski and Horvath MarketCafe, or the spare but elegant arrangement of bicycle paraphernalia at Tati's custom frame shop. While the service is not objectionable, we hope that with time the energy and passion behind the Parker's Pets venture comes through more.

All in all, though there's certainly room for improvement, Parker's Pets is a welcome and quality addition to the neighborhood.


Parker's Pets
773-496-4785
1342 E. 55th Street
Hours: Mon 12-6; Tues - Fri 11-7; Sat 10-6; Sun 12-5

29 comments:

Richard Gill said...

I'm not a pet owner, but I wish Parker's Pets well. A good pet shop is an important asset for a city neighborhood like Hyde Park, which is home to many domestic canines and felines, and probably some "ines" that I don't want to know about.

Parker's may be somewhat at a handicap, as that retail strip manages to seem lonesome, in close proximity to a lot of people. With storefronts shoved up against a narrow sidewalk, which is in turn shoved up against the street, the retail structure is poorly situated and designed. But then, that whole section of 55th Street is not particularly a pedestrian magnet. So, I hope what Parker's lacks in location is made up for in service and product...and a brisk business.

We're far from being a shopping Mecca, but at least we're no longer a shopping, uh, Akron.

ScottM said...

Channeling a few too many "Baggy Monsters" in the review?

Advanced Analytics said...

Richard,
Your niece Nellie is a regular customer at Parker's. She loves the knowledgeable, friendly service and the selection of food and treats. A great addition to the neighborhood. We should all support it.

Richard Gill said...

See, everyone, Nellie shops in Hyde Park. No running up to Clybourn for Little Nell. GO SOX!!

Elizabeth Fama said...

Otto's and ScottM's comments should have required footnotes. Are you talking Tolstoy, ScottM? Cuz I'm sure C-Pop would be flattered.

chicago pop said...

As for baggy monsters, what's really needed are monster baggies, for those of us who help clean up a winter season's worth of dog turds along some of HP's more trafficked routes.

Richard Gill said...

Whoa, C-Pop! Are you suggesting that not ALL dog owners clean up after their animals? I am shocked, SHOCKED to think that Pomeranian and Poodle poop perpetually permeates the parks and parkways of this fair neighborhood. Oh, that's right; some people in Hyde Park are just special.

Greg said...

Oh come on, everyone knows poodle and pomeranian poop doesn't stink!

David Farley said...

Before you run over there because you ran out of iguana treats, be aware that Parker's Pets is strictly for cats and dogs (although I fibbed and bought a cat carrier from them that was really for a rabbit).

edj said...

Is there any word on a possible new location for the veterinarian in Harper Court?

WoodLawn Jack said...

I own a dog--mildly large at @60lbs. And while I might go in to check out the store, without a groomer I'll still be spending most of my money on the north side. Our current groomer gets booked months in advance so when I saw this article I was hoping there would be a new option. But, alas poor yorky, no bathes do they sell.

However, if they do actually carry toys that the dog can't destroy I might have to go there.

As far as dog land-mines--people are just as bad (maybe even worse). My dog can smell french fries from a block away, find stale bread under a block of ice, and detect marinara sauce that was washed away a week ago. The amount of crap that students, residents, workmen, and visitors will just throw on the ground is astounding. Bagels, mcdonalds, chicken wings, and just about everything else that people throw on the ground seems to be much more common than the dog results from eating them.

chicago pop said...

WJ makes a good point about the anthropogenic origin of ground-level crap in the world, which you could argue dogs help to clean up. Being a dog owner myself, I make it a point to pick up the droppings that the last guy left behind. It's my bid for karma. We've all been stuck out in the park late at night without a baggy and been like shoot, gotta go...so I try to make up for it in other ways.

A grooming service would probably be a hit -- I wonder if maybe the space they have prevents them from offering it.

Greg said...

Kriser's on State and 10th has a grooming service. No need to go to the evil North Side!

Richard Gill said...

Maybe a dog grooming service wouldn't do well in Hyde Park. Many local dog owners want their dogs to have that shaggy, unwashed "Hyde Park look", just like themselves. Present company excepted, I am sure.

Parker's Pets said...

Yes, we do have toys tough for large dogs not to destroy!

We're hoping to be opening a Self Service Dog Wash/ Grooming Parlor sometime in the near future. We don't have the space in our current location to accommodate grooming and are in the process of looking for another space.

I'm sorry if the reviewer didn't get our usual exemplary service... I would be interested in knowing when they came in so I can speak to whoever was working. Obviously whatever service they received was not up to our standard and we would like to correct that.

We have been open a year and a half and are still evolving. We strive to bring Hyde Park a large selection of quality items for both dogs and cats at good prices. Any feed back is appreciated, and I can be reached any time by email at parkerspetskatie@yahoo.com

WoodLawn Jack said...

As far as RG's "shaggy dog" theory--that is just the thing about a groomer. It brings in money (and people) from outside hyde park. The groomer we use on the North Side is already booked solid through the beginning of summer. I have no idea how hard appts at the south loop one metioned are, but I'm guessing most groomers draw from a wide area as they seem to be scarce.

As far as zoning--it looks like grooming is permitted for all "B" zoning areas. That area is a B1-2. I think competing on choice of food, toys, and clothes is going to be hard as pretty much all the "local" pet stores will compete on the same thing.

nate said...

If you're looking to support a South Side groomer (and dog boarding / day care place), check out Heaven on Earth up on 43rd in Bronzeville. They did a great great job on my pooch, who, I have to say, was taking the shaggy, unwashed HP look to new lengths.

http://www.heavenonearthdogcarespa.com/

MD said...

Hey, just an FYI. Raw fed dog poop really doesn't stink, plus it dries up into powder within a couple days. It is nice and firm though so it's very easy to clean up!!

Sara said...

I'm from central IL but have been to Parker's Pets several times when I've been in the area. I've always had terrific service and found the people on staff to be really knowledgeable and helpful. I bought a "Katie's Bumper" toy on the proprietor's recommendation, and it's the only stuffed toy that has EVER survived at my house. I've had it a year and it is still intact! I also have a Wacky Walker leash and a harness that actually fits my dachshund, some amazing dog shampoo and conditioner that I now can't live without, all suggestions from the staff. I've had several great experiences there and definitely plan to go back!

Elizabeth Fama said...

Whoa, Woodlawn Jack. You can't compare unscooped poop with discarded food. Anyone who has had a child play unsuspectingly in mined park grass can tell you the difference.

I think people use the snow as an excuse not to pick up their dog's waste. They figure it's hidden, and they're cold, and they want to get home. Then in the spring we're all treated to their laziness.

I'm also peeved about owners who chat so intently with each other at the park that they don't notice their dogs pooping. Or the one guy who walks his Akita along the lakefront, off leash, a block behind him, without looking back, so he doesn't notice when it stops to take a (massive Akita) dump.

Richard Gill said...

If Parker's is looking for more space, to accommodate a grooming service, MAC might be a good place to check. Maybe one or two of those empty storefronts on 55th between Cornell and the railroad. While waiting, customers could go next door for Pad Thai and Singha. Something like that might have some appeal, actually.

But have too much Singha and you're more likely to step in some dog poop. On the other hand, you're less likely to care.

Greg said...

I believe at least one of the decent-sized units just east of SHPB (on the South side of 55th) are available as well.

Speaking of vacancies, I drove by the old Blockbuster on 53rd and they have treadmills and workout equipment in there. Is a new gym opening up?

Richard Gill said...

If it's a fitness club, maybe it's someone's answer to Bally's difficulties. Re the Singha, I was assuming the restaurants in the 55th St. building will apply for and obtain liquor licenses subsequent to the rezoning.

Greg said...

Okay, final comment of mine here: What if Parker's Pets and Dr. Wake the Harper Court Vet each took half of the former WaMu location? They could fill that space together, Parkers could have their grooming facility, and they share customers back and forth.

Kofi Bofah said...

I am new around here.

I stay at 53 / Drexel so I am not some hack outsider.

Let me know something.

What is the deal with those homes on 53rd and 55th that have NO WINDOWS!?!?!!?!

Me and my friends have been trying to identify this mystery for years.

Well, I have been living in Hyde Park for 3 - so 3 years, actually.

mhb said...

I just found this blog - cool!

As a soon-to-be-cat owner, I wandered into Parker's Pets over the weekend to see what's local. They don't have a huge inventory of cat stuff, but they have some good toys and scratching posts and a nice selection of food and treats. The lady behind the desk gave me some advice about a litter pan mat, which I purchased.

While we were there, a couple with a puppy came in. They seemed to have a lot of questions, and the staff gave them advice and gave the pup a treat.

My opinion of the place could have been swayed by the adorable puppy, but it seems like a nice shop, and I'll definitely stop in again for cat treats and toys in the future.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Kofi, those are CHA homes (built on property taken over during urban renewal in the mid-60s). There are a couple of windows on the back and I think someone told me that the units have skylights, but you're right that they are a design disaster.

chicago pop said...

Like a lot of stuff built at the time (1960s and into the 70s) the idea was that no one wanted to look out onto the street because it was too scary. Wall it off, make it hostile to pedestrians, and then forget about it.

Greg said...

Homes without windows... you mean those weird one-story, flat roofed square things across from the fire station? I've always wondered about those too.