Josh and Stephanie Gilmer

Furry friends and those who love them rejoice: Fondren is getting a pet store this summer.

The Pet Shop of Fondren is slated to open July 1 7. Josh and Stephanie Gilmer will take over the 1,500 square foot space currently occupied by Cosmopolitan Café and Catering.

With a combined 40 years of experience in the business, the Gilmers will bring an “upscale modern” approach to holistic pet health.

Josh, who has worked alongside his family at Animal Health Products in South Jackson and Stephanie, who continues to work with Animal Medical Center, says The Pet Shop is something they have dreamed of for years. “My goal is to have something that’s me, that I established,” Josh said.

The Gilmers will have hand crafted leather collars and leashes, dog bowls and hand turned dog bowl stands built by local craftsmen. But the food will be the star of the show.

“Nutrition is a huge part of this,” Josh said speaking of the specialty pet foods he will carry. “It’s a bit more money, but they’ll eat less so it comes out cheaper. We see it as a guaranteed healthier animal overall.”

If running out for a bag of dog food is the last thing on your busy mind, The Pet Shop aims to solve that with delivery to Fondren, Belhaven and Eastover. Josh says they are working on a smartphone app to aid with the process.

Josh, who is also a member of the Mississippi Craftsman’s Guild, said he’s been working to open in Fondren for a couple of years. “Spots get yanked up quickly,” he noted of the hip, artsy neighborhood. “You’ve got to be on your toes.” He credits Mike Peters for working to find the location for The Pet Shop  in Wadell Nejam’s Fondren Village.

The Gilmers said they could open their business anywhere but they chose Fondren for a reason. “Fondren is the first place in Jackson that is supportive of the small business community,” Josh explained. “Everybody helps everybody. We’re not here to make a killing, but to be a staple of community.”