Best of the Beach 2019 – Pets
Best pet store
Asked if competing against the big pet chains was a challenge, Pet Mart owner Abu Siddia answered, “It’s a challenge for them to compete against us. We own our property and our labor costs are low.”
Siddia moved to Hermosa Beach when he was 11. After finishing school, he bought the gas station on Aviation Boulevard, across from Pet Mart.
Siddia’s future wife Maria bought Pet Mart in 1975, shortly after immigrating to Hermosa Beach from Mozambique, where the Portuguese native had been living. “I had to leave because after Mozambique gained independence from Portugal, the locals began killing all the Portuguese,” Maria said.
In 1984 the pet store caught fire and the property owner didn’t want to rebuild it.
“A developer wanted to partner with me to buy the property. He told me I’d never get a bank loan on my own because I was a woman and a foreigner,” Maria recalled.
Maria got the loan and rebuilt the store. Abu sold the gas station when he and Maria married and over the past four decades have made Pet Mart a South Bay institution for pet lovers.
In addition to dog and cat food and accessories, Pet Mart carries dozens of reptiles and its nearly 50 lighted aquariums are the South Bay’s only source for pet fish.
As a result of recent changes in state law, Maria and Abu will soon be offering dogs and cats, and they are adding a dog grooming salon.
1054 Aviation Blvd., Hermosa Beach
537 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach
(310) 374-7969 stores.petco.com
Bubbles Pet Care
At the core of Bubbles Pet Care’s grooming philosophy is to treat their charges as quickly and lovingly as possible.
“We try to create a one-on-one service for our dogs and groomers — when the doggies come in, we start right away so they don’t have to stay for a long period, and the owners get to speak with groomers directly, rather than going through a third-person,” said Ai Nogimura, the manager at Bubbles’ Manhattan Beach location.
“Grooming can be a stressful event for animals — they don’t want to be here so we don’t keep them here for long,” Nogimura said. “That cuts down on the stress quite a bit and owners notice it, because their dog isn’t going to be exhausted by being here for four or five hours.”
Nogimura has been with the business for 11 years, and in that time has developed relationships with families and their pets as they’ve grown.
Bubbles Pet Spa
2110 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach
(310) 545-5294 bubblespetspa.com
4413 Rosecrans Ave., Hawthorne
(310) 676-2626 groomingdalesmobile.net
Hermosa Animal Hospital
Step into the lobby of Hermosa Animal Hospital and you’ll hear squawks, meows, and barks, a chorus that testifies to the number of people who put their trust in the hospital to take care of a close companion. It wins high marks for its roster of veterinarians. Customers laud the natural connection that vets including Dr. Steve Liebl and Dr. Ashley Burgos seem to have with animals. The hospital offers weekday vaccine clinics, on-site radiology, and ECGs, medical, surgical and dental care.
Hermosa Animal Hospital
560 Pacific Coast Hwy., Hermosa Beach
(310) 376-8819 hah-vet.com
Runner-up: VCA Coast Animal Hospital
1560 Pacific Coast Hwy., Hermosa Beach
(310) 372-8881 vcahospitals.com
At the right time, on the right days, Tracy Robinson’s SmartCar could be mistaken for a canine clown car.
“I can fit 10 dogs in there easily — and there’s a lot of fur flying out of there sometimes. It’s almost like a mobile grooming salon as I’m driving down the road,” Robinson said.
The longtime proprietor of Fancy Tails, Robinson’s a woman with energy levels that are perfectly suited to walking dozens of dogs daily. In her 15 years in business, she has worked with hundreds of families and their pets.
“I somehow build camaraderie by proxy… people will be out walking their dogs down The Strand, down by the pier, and their dog will try to pull them across the street to other dogs,” Robinson said. “Then they realize that their dogs are pulling to get together, knowing each other from being walked by me every day, Monday through Friday.”
Robinson is all about her business as well, not only working holidays and weekends, but taking care of all varieties of animals.
“Even if people think they may not need me, at some point everyone with a dog will need a pet sitter or a walker, and they have to have someone lined up for that because friends and neighbors just aren’t reliable,” Robinson said.
Fancy Tails Company
1201 N. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach
(310) 937-4408 fancytailscompany.com
Runner-up: Best Buddies Pet Care
(310) 567-9347 bestbuddiespetcare.net
by Teri Marin