Delights for Dogs and Cats at Basset & LabAug 31, 2022 09:31AM ● By Sheila Julson
Basset & Lab is a boutique pet store that opened in Lancaster in 2018 that features a doggie bakery and deli with healthy, scratch-made treats, cookies, “pupcakes,” custom cakes and ice cream. The retail component offers a carefully curated line of pet foods, leashes, toys and grooming supplies.
Owner Alison Bowser has always been a dog lover, once volunteering for a lab rescue and fostering dogs in her home. “I was involved in every aspect of dog care,” she says. “I ran a doggie daycare in my home and enjoyed making treats for my customers.”
When one of her dogs fell ill, she began researching diet and natural health to help him improve, which led to learning about the benefits of whole, fresh foods. She had also worked as a demonstrator for the Fromm pet food company, and through that job made connections with other pet food and product distributors.
With a desire to help other owners, Bowser decided to open a specialty pet shop. “I already had a vision for the store in my mind,” she recalls. “I knew I didn’t want it to look like a typical store with aisles, but rather design it to have a more open, boutique concept.”
With a design in mind and already-established connections with distributors, Bowser was read to hit the ground running. Naming the store came easy: inspired by her business partner’s basset hound and her own black labs, Carly and Declan, she chose the name Basset & Lab.
A “Barkery” and More
Using her recipes for homemade dog treats, Bowser has established a bakery where pet parents can buy goodies for dogs such as peanut butter banana treats, oatmeal bites, pizza bites, puppy pennies, peanut butter bacon sticks and signature Basset & Lab cookies in the image of basset hounds or Labradors.
Customers can also order custom-decorated cakes for birthdays or “gotcha day” (a term for the anniversary of the day on which a person or a pet joins a family by adoption) parties. The ice cream shop features several flavors of homemade ice cream for dogs that rotate weekly. All treats, cakes and ice cream are made onsite. Bowser uses all human-grade ingredients, including either whole wheat flour or coconut flour for dogs on grain-free diets and no preservatives. The food toppers include ingredients such as blueberries, chicken, organic brown rice or vegetables.
Bowser carefully vets the brands of dog and cat food that she carries, looking for smaller manufacturers with strict standards. Customers can choose from dry kibble, wet/canned food, raw frozen, freeze-dried raw, supplemental meal toppers and treats.
Basset & Lab carries dog collars, leashes and apparel such as bandanas, bow ties and outer wear. There’s a wide assortment of toys and bowls for dogs and cats. Bowser seeks out products that are non-toxic and environmentally safe, and stocks items that customers request.
Grooming and care products include shampoos, flea and tick repellants, odor-eliminating sprays, balms, dental care and supplements. Bowser specifically looks for products that are free from genetically modified organisms, chemicals, parabens and sulfates.
Pets are welcome at Basset & Lab, and visitors are often greeted by Carly and Declan. Since opening the store, Bowser says the journey has been successful, and she considers herself fortunate to have endured the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s considering adding events this fall such as benefits for local animal rescue groups.
“I have wonderful, loyal customers, and I wouldn’t be here without them,” she reflects. “I consider myself very lucky to still have my store after everything that’s happened in the world. I love the relationships I’ve built with customers and their pets.”
Basset & Lab is located at 1352 Harrisburg Pike, in Lancaster. For more information, call 717-288-1200 or visit BassetAndLab.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.