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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pet shop celebrates rebranding this weekend with samba dancers and more

Chico's Natural Pet Market owner Danielle Areco with Quinton. 
“Bikinis and feathers” – that’s the theme of the grand opening of Chico’s Natural Pet Market in Barcroft Plaza this weekend.

There will be flamboyantly costumed samba dancers and rainforest birds, like parrots and macaws, says owner, Danielle Areco, a former professional samba dancer from Brazil.

The shop will have special sales 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, July 29, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. There will be costumed characters, an ice cream truck, games and prizes, free goodie bags, photo opps, and animal encounters presented by Wildlife Ambassadors. The samba dancers will perform 4-6 p.m. both days – wearing what Areco calls the “conservative version” of their costumes. The complete schedule is online.

Cute clothes for canines.
The store originally opened two and a-half years ago as Chico’s Pet Depot and was part of the California-based Pet Depot franchise. Areco found that concept didn’t work for her shop, so she is going independent.

When she contemplated breaking off from the Pet Depot franchise, “clients told me they will continue to come here and support us. They want me to stay open,” she says. “That for me is so rewarding.”

Chico's has a wide variety of pet supplies.
“If locally owned small businesses can’t survive, shopping centers will become ghost towns,” she says, bemoaning the spread of big chains and online shopping.

Areco (#notyourtypicalcatlady) is a committed cat lover with four cats of her own despite being allergic to cats.

The store is named in honor of Chico, a stray cat Areco rescued while she was living in Brazil. At the time, Chico had feline leukemia, which was considered a death sentence, but with lots of love and good medical care, he survived for 12 years.

When Areco moved to the United States 10 years ago to compete in a Samba competition, she brought Chico and five other rescue cats from the sanctuary she founded in Brazil.

She refers to the shop as “Whole Foods for dogs,” pointing out the barrels of natural, organic dog treats.

This kitty is ready to be adopted.
It’s a place where people can learn about pet nutrition and health; adopt a rescue cat or dog; find all-natural, high-quality pet food brands not sold by the big chains; have a pet groomed; and browse among a wide selection of pet accessories. The store offers fish and reptiles from a reputable source but doesn’t sell birds or small mammals.

Areco urges the community to come out to the celebration this weekend and support a woman-owned, immigrant-owned small business struggling to compete against the Internet and big-box stores, or as she puts it: “Say no to the big box and yes to the big booties.” 


  1. Conservative versions? :( I'll be there regardless

  2. Ha ha ha, see you there!

  3. Love her and her store!

  4. We love the fact that there's a locally owned pet store down the street from us. Congrats on the grand opening Danielle! Your passion for animals is contagious!