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Pet products niche a natural for them
Search for organic pet food lead couple to open Fredericksburg Natural Pet.

 Kim Pearson advises Joan Enoch, president of AdvoCATs Inc., a local cat shelter, on the best food for her felines.
Marie Sicola/The Free Lance-Star
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Date published: 10/12/2012

By Cathy Jett

KIM AND MARK Pearson discovered a niche market when they moved to Fredericksburg several years ago.

And they've set out to fill it.

The couple, who together have worked in the natural pet products industry for more than 20 years, just opened Fredericksburg Natural Pet at 5320 Plank Road. It's near Knit 2 Unwind in Spotsylvania County's Five Mile Fork area.

"We offer [cat and dog] food and treats that are eco-friendly and made and sourced within the USA," Kim Pearson said in an email. "We even sell a food called Sammy Snacks that comes from as close as Charlottesville."

Fredericksburg Natural Pet currently stocks about 15 different brands of raw, hormone-free and grain-free pet foods by such labels as EVO, Fromm and VeRUS Pet Food; and about 100 different treats, including those Sammy Snacks. It will carry more brands in the future.

"We're right down the road from Petco, but they're not our competition," said Kim Pearson. "We're focused on educating our customers about the different supplements and foods that we have. We want to be community-based and help them get the best for their pets."

Americans are expected to spend $20.46 billion on pet food this year, and they're increasingly spending it on organic food options and earth-friendly pet products, according to the latest trend report from the Greenwich, Conn.-based American Pet Products Association.

Kim Pearson said the demand for natural, locally sourced pet food is a reflection of the way people are shopping for themselves. They're buying more fresh fruits and vegetables and grass-fed beef at farmers markets or directly from the farmers themselves.

"We want to give them an option for their pets as well," she said.

Pearson has been a sales rep for an organic pet food company for eight years, and her husband used to be involved in retail sales of natural pet food. He now owns Battlefield Pool Services in Spotsylvania.

The Pearsons lived in a number of larger cities across the country before moving here and were shocked to discover that they couldn't find the healthy foods locally that they wanted to feed their two dogs, a border collie and a pug.

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