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Dentists All Smiles Over Merger

Dentists All Smiles Over Merger

Dentists All Smiles Over Merger
LBN Community Series
Scott Meldrum, D.D.S., was looking to slow down.

Glen Maylath, D.D.S., wasn’t actively looking to merge his practice with someone else.

But in June, the long-time friends and colleagues combined their dental practices creating Total Dental Fitness, and so far, it’s working beautifully.


“I mentioned it to Glen, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come work for me?’ I looked at the office, thought it was exquisite, merged all my clientele here and I think it’s been fairly successful,” said Dr. Meldrum.

Dr. Maylath agrees.

“We’ve known each other for a long time, and it just turned out,” Dr. Maylath said.

Andrea Kowalyk, 44, has been a patient of Dr. Meldrum since she was a child.  She said she was uncertain when she heard about the new business relationship.

“I was nervous,” Kowalyk said. “I really trust Dr. Meldrum. Then he merged with Dr. Maylath and he’s great. I could be alright now if Dr. Meldrum chooses to retire. Both dentists are great at making sure nothing hurts you and treating you like you have a brain in your head They have great bedside manner and are very compassionate at what they do.”

For many years, Dr. Meldrum worked out of an office on Elm in Birmingham. He bought that practice in 1978 from his then father-in-law, whose family had owned the practice since the 1930s. Now, the two dentists work out of offices at 50 W. Big Beaver Road.

They offer the full spectrum of dental care for the whole family including a fully digital experience using leading-edge technology, same-day crowns and even some orthodontics.

“I think the biggest difference in our two practices is how my practice was a very small, old-fashioned dental practice,” said Dr. Meldrum. “We had one small computer, but most things were done on paper. I moved from the 1980s to the 21st century in one afternoon. Everything here is digital as much as possible. The instant modernization is the biggest change.”

Having worked solo for many years, the new business partners are enjoying talking shop.

“We want to make it a fun, positive experience. When they’re in the dental chair, we really engage them so they have a good time.”
“There’s certain dynamics of having other eyes looking at something,” said Dr. Maylath. “It’s nice to be able to have a different viewpoint or reaffirm a viewpoint.”

Said Dr. Meldrum, “I’ve always worked by myself. It’s fun to have a colleague to talk about dentistry in general. He and I can be candid when we’re in the back room eating lunch.”

While dentistry is the bread and butter of their business, they occasionally stumble into something much deeper. Dr. Maylath remembers patients who thought they were having teeth issues, but it turned out to be a brain aneurysm, multiple sclerosis and even a brain abscess.

While Dr. Meldrum has worked mostly by himself, Dr. Maylath went into the army after dental school and worked with other professionals on a daily basis.

“After dental school, I was in the army at different dental facilities. There were different dentists trained in different parts of the country, and that opened new options,” said Dr. Maylath.

A Paw Paw, Michigan, native, he knew he wanted to be a dentist in eighth grade. After attending Kalamazoo College and then University of Detroit-Mercy for dental school, Dr. Maylath was posted on an army air base in Germany for six of his seven years in the service. He also served at an evacuation hospital during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

“When I came back to Birmingham over 20 years ago, I decided that if I’m going to establish a practice, why don’t I make everything digital. We’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. My whole goal is to stay on the leading edge with crowns in a day and laser dentistry,” he said. “Whether it’s new technology or something that’s been done for many years, we still treat people how we want to be treated. That’s key. And that aspect doesn’t change whatever the technology is.”

That philosophy mirrors Dr. Meldrum’s.

 “It doesn’t make a big difference in how I fix someone’s tooth. But it helps with the business,” said Dr. Meldrum. “It was tough for me to get used to, but now I’m used to it and it’s more efficient.”

Total Dental Fitness is also supported by Diana McQuirter, D.D.S., who sees patients a few days a week.


The practice is an experience. Patients can use video games, such as a snowboarding simulator, in the waiting room before or after their appointment. Parents appreciate the distraction for the whole family.

“We want to engage the patient,” said Dr. Maylath. “We want to make it a fun, positive experience. When they’re in the dental chair, we really engage them so they have a good time. When they see what happens, they tell their friends and they refer their friends.”

Read our previous story about Dr. Scott Meldrum:

50 W. Big Beaver Road
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.












Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 Years of Food, Families, and “Opa!”

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 Years of Food, Families, and “Opa!”

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 years of food, families, and “Opa!”




LBN Community Series

“Opa!” exclaims John Kotsogiannis as he stops by a booth to greet a long-time customer with a warm handshake and a clap on the back. “Where’s your daughter? Still in New York?”

As the two men chat for a moment, John nods his head and smiles at other lunch patrons who are picking up or ordering carry-outs or looking at menus, seated in his restaurant’s newly renovated booths and tables.

“We’ve been in Birmingham for 24 years,” says John. “I’ve seen families grow up here.”



Kelli and Mark Stebbins and their four children are one of those families.

“Mark and I walked here today from our home in Bloomfield Township, three miles away,” says Kelli. “We’ve been customers for 20 years! I’d ride my bike and meet Mark here when I was pregnant with our first child.”

“It was so cozy,” she continues. “We’d talk about what our child might be like while we ate what are still our favorites today: a hamburger for me and a gyro for Mark – though we’d often come for breakfast, too!”

“Yes, and with the kids, breakfast always included Mickey Mouse pancakes, which was exotic for them,” Mark chuckles.

“Part of the reason we come,” Mark says, “is the people: John and his fantastic staff. John always has a really positive outlook and a big smile.”

“And,” grins Kelli, “he always let us take four suckers!”

“If kids want to go to a place – even for the suckers,” John laughs, “the parents will follow. It’s about good, fresh food but, also, all about the nice experience.”

“I had a customer yesterday who was in from Miami,” John shares. “He said, ‘We have upscale restaurants, European places, fine dining – but nothing comfortable like this, with good atmosphere, food, and price.’ We just like to treat people the way we like to be treated while serving food we enjoy eating, ourselves.”

“All of our Greek dishes are made from scratch,” states John. “People especially love our homemade spinach pie and our lentil or chicken lemon-rice soup.”

“A lot of people now like to get home quickly after a long day and then eat at home,” Bill says. “So carry-outs—especially salads — are a very large part of our business.”

“And we sell a lot of chicken here. We have a lady who works cleaning chickens all day and then marinating them for 24 hours.”

Their most popular menu item is their Greek Islands Special Salad, with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, feta cheese, and Greek dressing – which they make themselves and sell in bottles, along with their homemade Ranch dressing.

“We have customers who come from New York and Chicago and buy three, four, five bottles of our dressing,” John says.

Manager Bill Gikas, who grew up with John in Thiva, Greece, adds, “The dressings have no preservatives. And we have low-cal versions, too.”

“All the area schools – the students, parents, teachers — come here to get salads for meetings and to take home, and for catering their all-night parties and other events.”

“A lot of people now like to get home quickly after a long day and then eat at home,” Bill says. “So carry-outs—especially salads — are a very large part of our business.”

“People love that our foods are so fresh. We get produce and other deliveries five times per week,” shares John. “Nothing in our walk-ins is older than two days.”

“And now, our décor is fresh, too,” he continues. “My wife, Mary, chose the colors, the materials: everything! We were closed for eleven days and completed the work, including brand-new bathrooms.”

“I wanted to give Greek Islands a more modern feel, up-to-date and elegant,” explains Mary. “I’m not a designer by trade, so it took me a while…I had a vision and, after lots of tile and paint samples, we got it to work!”

John’s whole family is involved in the business, along with his original partner, George Stefanakis, and his kitchen manager and newest partner, Ali Zacellari.

“My daughter Marisa, who studied graphic design and product packaging at Michigan State, created our menu,” John says. “And daughter Ana, a true family leader and a nurse anesthetist, keeps us all healthy and in line,” John laughs. “She’s always calling to say ‘Add more salads to the menu!’ And ‘Did you exercise today?’”

“I’ve worked a lot of jobs,” John relates, “starting at American and Lafayette Coney Islands as a teen. I treat people, staff and customers, the way I’d like to be treated. Most of my staff has been with me for years. We do the right thing, always, and we have done so for 24 years.”

“I’d like to be around for another 50,” he jokes. “Well, maybe 25….”

Greek Islands
Coney Restaurant
221 Hamilton Row
Birmingham, MI 48009













Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”

Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”

Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”




LBN Community Series

Rob Isola sets four used, instant cameras and a roll of Advantix film onto the processing check-in counter of Woodward Camera in Birmingham, ordering double prints of each photo.

“These are my mom’s cameras,” he smiles. “I can’t convince her to go digital. And the film is kind of a relic. The pictures on it are, I’m sure, over ten years old. I found it in her basement.”



Woodward Camera, celebrating its 50th year in the landmark building that was designed specifically for their business, offers on-site processing – and sales of cameras, equipment and accessories; state-of-the-art video systems; photo gifts; classes; monthly photography contests – and is run by a longtime staff with decades of photography experience.

“I’ve got the best staff I ever had,” says T. Bert (‘Bert’) Weidner III. “With my wife, Ruby, and daughter, Elizabeth, we are able to have this one-stop shop and offer everything a photography customer could need.”

Though their main business is the sale of digital cameras, including Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, Sigma, and Sony, Woodward Camera also buys and sells used equipment.

“Many of the high school photography teachers have their students use the older 35mm film cameras, so we are able to provide those here,” Bert says.

“On the other hand,” Bert adds, “we are also very excited to offer the newest, multi-area camera coverage devices for live video streaming, including one by Sling Studio. It’s very popular for recording and for social-media sharing of special events, and churches like to use the system for overflow areas or for unobtrusive photography during ceremonies and services.”

“Another exciting product,” he shares, “is the Nikon-DL, a compact, digital point-and-shoot camera with a one-inch sensor.”

“When we were built, we had 50 competitors within 20 miles. Now, you have to go 50 miles to find one. If you didn’t change with the times, you were gone.”

“I’ll tell you a secret,” Bert says. “Everyone thinks that pixels and megapixels are what’s important for photo quality. But really, it’s all about the sensor. The sensor provides the power that creates the image.”

“In a mobile phone,” Bert continues, “the sensor is smaller than half of your baby fingernail. But with the larger sensor, it’s possible to get unique, gorgeous pictures with virtually no light!”

Unlike many photo store owners, Bert has not been a photographer by hobby or trade.

“I was given a camera by my grandfather when I was thirteen,” Bert says, “and in prep school I worked part-time at a camera store, but my camera experience was really through sales.”

Bert became sales executive for a photo wholesaler, selling cameras and accessories to camera stores. He also worked for Sylvania, providing flashbulbs to all types and sizes of retail distributors — from large chain stores to independent outlets like Arnold Drugs.

“I had very good learning experiences and saw the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of how businesses are run,” says Bert.

“Most people that opened camera stores 30, 40 years ago were photo hobbyists. They either became business people, or they went out of business. Some hobbyist businesses work out, some don’t.”

“When we were built, we had 50 competitors within 20 miles. Now, you have to go 50 miles to find one. If you didn’t change with the times, you were gone.”

And, though Woodward Camera has continued to “change with the times,” they still offer processes and services that others have discontinued.

“We take over one thousand passport photos every year,” says Bert. “We are the only business in 50 miles that develops large quantities of film and can also produce prints up to 44 by 60 inches in size. And we have a very popular service called the ‘Shoebox Special.’”

“For $79,” he explains, “we can take a shoebox-full of a customer’s assorted prints and photos – even of different sizes – and put them all on a zip drive or DVD. We can also take slides and put them on a DVD. We offer many classes, and we have self-serve kiosks for customers to get instant prints from their mobile phones or portable storage devices.”

“We can mount photos for gifts and keepsakes – including mugs, ornaments, jewelry and other items, as well as one-day photo books, calendars, and puzzles. And we can print photos as art onto glass, metal, or as washable plaques – which many people around here do with photos of their Dream Cruise cars, for display in their homes or garages.”

As a business on Woodward Avenue, Bert has been proud to participate in the Dream Cruise for the past nine years by offering, in tandem with the Piety Hill chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, special seating, refreshments and Dream Cruise viewing for any veteran.

Another popular local event was their recent, inaugural Detroit Zoo Photo Safari.

“It was a fantastic and rewarding event,” Bert says. “Participants paid $20 (or participated, free-of-charge, with Detroit Zoological Society membership) and could enter the zoo early and take unlimited photos using $300,000 of photo equipment on loan from us, with help from our employees, who were posted throughout the zoo as ‘photo ambassadors.’ We look forward to doing that again.”

“I love what I’ve been doing for the past 50 years,” Bert exclaims.  “I am still enthused. People say Woodward Camera is a camera shop, but it is actually the greatest and best toy store for photography, ever!”

Woodward Camera
33501 Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI  48009













Join One of Zelma’s Groups and See the World

Join One of Zelma’s Groups and See the World

Zelma Gottlies, Owner of Zelma Travels

Zelma Gottlieb is always on call.

“I can always tell how my day is going by how many calls I get at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I rarely let a call go to voicemail.”

Gottlieb is a one-woman show at Zelma Travels. She organizes group tours to places as close as Stratford, Ontario, and Traverse City, to as far as Italy, France and across Europe.

“Our Italy trips are very beautiful. We do the Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, we also go to the buffalo farm in Paestum,” Gottlieb explains.

“We’ve had amazing experiences with people.”

Carey Gary is one of them. As she was retiring from teaching high school culinary arts, she told her husband she didn’t want to be around for the start of the school year. Through her local paper, The Plymouth Observer, she saw an article about Gottlieb and her travel opportunities.

Gary went to the Community House in Birmingham and signed up — and three other family members as well.

Five trips later, Gary is still getting more people to travel with Gottlieb.

“Zelma really enjoys going to Italy because she has so many local guides she connects with and that’s part of the draw,” said Gary. “I keep telling people about it and they all want to go.”

Gottlieb’s calling as a travel facilitator came in 1973 at a small office in Flint. She had a young family at the time and told the owner she still wanted to be part of her children’s lives, so she worked parttime.

Client Tim Turino of Madison, Wisconsin (left), Zelma & Gil Gottlieb (right)

For the next 30 years, her role grew as did the agency from one location to two: Grand Blanc and Fenton, and she was now running the business.

“In 2003, when the airlines stopped paying commission, we had to give up the storefronts as people started to book online,” she explained. “We drove west in 2004, supposedly in retirement, and I got a call from the president of the Community House in Birmingham. It was the most wonderful place to work at the time.”

She booked travel tours for the Birmingham community until the program was cut in 2016. She had so many loyal clientele, they wouldn’t let her retire. Now, she’s Zelma Travels, which started booking two trips per year in 2016, and is now up to six.

“I’ve done a lot of group travel for Europe, we just did a great Traverse City wine tour, Stratford festival, Niagara on the Lake. We do some group things around here. For instance, Flint has a stellar art museum,”  Gottlieb said.

“Travel is wonderful. You don’t have to go on the most expensive tour to see the same things. You can always upgrade on certain things. You have to be brave enough to go off on your own a little bit.”

In her experience, the primary stopper for people not wanting to travel is fear. “One of the interesting things about travel is they’re all so intimidated. If you wait for your friends to go, you’ll stay home. When you’re out traveling, you always have to go around the corner. You’ll always find amazing things around the corner,” she said.

A tour with Gottlieb, or Zelma as she’s known, leans toward a more high-end experience. When you’re traveling by motor coach, she serves box lunches, “because I have a pet peeve about stopping at fast food.”

Additionally, the hotels she books for the trips are more upscale and she has a personal relationship with the proprietors.

“I’m also very conscious of people who are alone on our trips. I make sure they’re not sitting alone at breakfast. I always try to introduce people who have things in common,” she said.

Carey Gary appreciated the friendship and flexibility on the tours.

“Her groups are small, which I like. It means you get to know people. When your week is up, you’ve had a nice experience with them,” Gary said.

“When we were in the Cinque Terre, we were close to Pisa. It wasn’t on our itinerary, but in an hour, she made it happen. I know that doesn’t happen with other travel groups. I certainly always appreciated her flexibility,” Gary said.

When she’s working with her clients, some express a concern with security, which Gottlieb understands. In 1984, she was with a tour in Paris. As they walked into a restaurant, terrorists threw a hand grenade in and began shooting. Gottlieb was hit in the foot with shrapnel.

“I tell people they have to be mindful. You have to look around and you can’t be oblivious to your surroundings,” she said. “When I go into a place, I always look where the exit is. If you want to travel and be out in the world, you have to be mindful.”

For now, she’s busy planning an October trip to see “To Kill a Mockingbird” in Stratford, a fall trip to Tuscany and a June tour in Paris.

“It’s a wonderful way to meet people,” she said. “People make everything; people make the world. We’ve met incredible people who’ve traveled with us.”

Zelma Travels

Jax Kar Wash: Shining Your Machine for 65 Years

Jax Kar Wash: Shining Your Machine for 65 Years

A lot of crazy things can happen in a car wash. Just ask Bruce Milen or his son Jason Milen, second- and third-generation owners of Jax Kar Wash.

Jason & Bruce Milen, Owners of Jax Kar Wash

While they haven’t witnessed anything like the classic “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode — in which Larry David and Cheryl Hines get stuck in the malfunctioning car wash after she has just downed a dose of colon cleanser — the Milens have their own hilarious stories to laugh about.

Bruce recalls one woman who came in for full service.

“Our final guy put her in the car. She drove off and, unbeknownst to her, one of our guys was still in the back seat.”

Jason remembers one inebriated man who went through with his convertible top down.

They’ve also encountered bags of marijuana left in cars, interiors reeking of pot odor, the guy who laid a gun down on the counter when he was paying for his service (“the cashier freaked out,” he says), and another who left a loaded gun on the seat of the car (“we had to call the customer to get it out—we won’t touch them,” Jason says).

And then, says Bruce, there was the pet owner whose dog had just pooped on the floor, and she left the pile there for the attendants to deal with.

Just another day at Jax.

Effervescent cashier Rose Thompkins greets customers in Jax’s bustling waiting area in Birmingham with the big windows and the long racks that hold everything from candy bars to car mats. Air fresheners are big sellers. The most popular scent among the 25 or so types Jax sells, according to Thompkins, is Little Tree’s Black Ice.

“Definitely Black Ice,” a customer at the register agrees. “It’s good and neutral.”

Here you can also find cell phone accessories, auto wax, towels and cold drinks. Jason says the front stuff isn’t a big part of the business, it’s just for customer convenience.

Marty Weissman watches the steam and suds through the window, waiting for his Mercedes SUV to emerge from the conveyor blower.

“I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” Weissman says, “and this place ranks better than most for the service and the way you can get in and out quickly.”

Weissman, who lives a few blocks from the car wash, is a member of Jax’s Unlimited Club Plan, for which he pays $35 a month. That gives him up to twice-daily full-service (inside and out) washings and discounts on special services, detailing and merchandise. Today, a radio frequency identification reader (RFID) scanned the FastPass sticker at the bottom of his rear windshield after he entered the car wash, without having to hand someone cash — moving things along even more swiftly.

Somewhere, Jack Milen, who founded Jax in 1953 at the corner of Six Mile and Meyers in Detroit, is smiling at the innovations his son Bruce, 70, and grandson Jason, 48, have implemented since his passing in 2003: The RFID scanner; the super-suds, eco-friendly detergents; the ability to use credit cards for monthly payments (Jax had a Club Plan starting in 1956, but because credit cards had not been invented, customers had to pay a yearly fee up front); and the addition of the exterior-only option, so customers can stay in their cars.

“It’s less expensive and appeals to a whole different market,” says Jason.

Over 65 years, the Jax motto, “always put the customer first,” has served the company well, although there was a short, regrettable period when that wasn’t the case: In 1998, the family sold the business to a national chain, which ignored the customer and tried but failed to take the company public. Bruce bought Jax back in 2001, and it has stayed on track ever since. Bruce and Jason both run it together. Bruce does day-to-day operations. Jason does marketing and is in charge of social media.

Jason remembers working for Bruce every Sunday when he was 8 or 9 years old.

“I’d have to clean all the shelves in the lobby — I got a dollar,” he recalls. Starting at age 14, he learned every aspect of the business and watched it grow. Jax currently boasts eight locations in Oakland County and another, the newest, in Macomb County. Bruce says further expansions are planned.

“I love the business,” Jason says. “I love our great customers and our great team members—some have been here 20 years.” In all, there are 300 full-time team members and 200 more part-timers.

The biggest challenge the Milens face are the bottlenecks: The days when nobody comes in, and then all of a sudden six cars are there at the same time for full service. Jax tries to make the experience 25 minutes or less, but when people have to wait, they get mad and post nasty reviews on social media.


“We’re not perfect, but we try to be,” says Jason. “We have a quality guarantee, so we ask that if somebody didn’t have a perfect experience to tell us about it and let us fix it instead of going away mad and posting a bad review on the Internet.”

He and his staff monitor all of the social media comments, good and bad, and he responds to any complaints within one working day. His attendants provide a checklist to every car to review after service, and he hopes people take a look before they leave.

“We’re in the people business,” he says. “We just happen to wash cars.”

Some Fun Jax Facts


  • Since 1953, Jax has washed millions of cars. At least.
  • All that water and dirt that rolls off your car is separated by a system that sends the water to a sewage treatment plant to be neutralized, while the dirt falls into a pit that gets carted away.
  • The soaps are eco-friendly, designed to break down before the blower hits the car at the end of the cycle.
  • Despite summer being a big season for car washing, winter is by far Jax’s busiest time because of all the road salt.
  • A full-service wash takes seven team members: two to vacuum, two to drive, and three to towel dry. When it’s busy, Jax employs up to 20 team members at a time.
  • The worst cleaning mess is vomit; biohazard suits and goggles have to be worn. That goes for blood, often present when cop cars are brought in.

34745 Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI 48009

27054 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Phone: (248) 547-3450

2835 W. Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48084

Other locations:

Rochester Hills, Southfield (Telegraph Rd., Southfield Rd.), West Bloomfield, Auburn Hills and Clinton Township

Pet Wants in Birmingham: Fresh Food and Fun for Your Furry Friends

Pet Wants in Birmingham: Fresh Food and Fun for Your Furry Friends

Cindy Morris had a devastating problem. She owned three rescue dogs, and all three had cancer. That seemed like more than a coincidence, and she wanted to find out why.

Owner Cindy Morris

“I started doing research online, saw what was in our pet’s food, what’s in the supplements they might take — wondering if we are over-vaccinating our dogs,” says Morris. What she found is that most of the packaged pet food on the shelves — even the premium stuff — is often up to 18 months old, thus depleted of the vitamins and minerals animals need to thrive.

After experimenting with a line of her own homeopathic supplements for dogs as well a few for cats, Morris developed a following at the local farmer’s markets, and decided this was her next calling. She had spent more than 30 years managing J.L. Hudson and Macy’s department stores, and after retiring early, she was looking for something that could combine her business acumen with her love of animals.

Morris opened Pet Wants in Birmingham in October 2016. “I saw that this could be something to bring to the community, somewhere they could buy fresh food. Our food is made fresh every month in Lisbon, Ohio, by a 30-year family company that’s never had a recall, so when I place an order, that’s when they start to make it for me.”

Pet Wants’ kibble is slow-cooked in small batches, which retains the nutrients. “We only source the best protein, like lamb and wild-caught salmon from Nova Scotia, and our food does not have any fillers. Dogs and cats should not have any corn, wheat or soy, no animal byproducts, nothing unspecified and no added sugars or dyes. And it’s all made in USA, which is what my clients like.”

On top of that, Pet Wants delivers for free.

“My passion is trying to make a difference in the animal companions of my clients. They should be living a lot longer than they are,” says Morris. Sadly, two of her rescue dogs died. But Bailey, a mix of Curly Coated Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Shepherd and Collie, has been in remission for seven years and is almost 15. Bailey likes to greet customers at the front door, as does diminutive Beau, another rescue dog, who is a mix of Border Terrier, Parsons Russell Terrier, Shitzu and Pug.

Melissa Shepherd of West Bloomfield is a fan of Pet Wants. She has been shopping here for her 18-month-old mini golden-doodle, Emmett, since it opened. She lost her last dog way too young — only 8 years old — and thinks the food at Pet Wants has made a huge difference in her new pup’s pep and appearance.

“His hair is so soft and he has such great, shiny teeth,” Shepherd says. The food is mainly based on brown rice (some is grain-free) and offers several varieties of protein, which keeps dogs from getting bored. “Emmett loves it.”

There’s also a well-curated selection of cat food, wet and dry, along with cans of wet dog food and even some locally made, fresh-frozen meatballs to sprinkle over dog kibble.

Birmingham dog trainer Ray Kerimian, who met Morris at her farmer’s market booths, also swears by the quality and variety of Pet Wants’ products. “I’m pleasantly surprised. My dogs now have shiny coats and a lot less stool — a lot of dog food has lots of fillers, which go right through their systems.”

Morris never sells her food beyond 90 days, because it begins to lose its nutritional value after that. “We donate it to shelters and rescues: Detroit Dog Rescue, Michigan Animal Rescue League, and Good Karma Puppy Rescue.”

Hanging from one of the walls in Pet Wants are trainer Kerimian’s line of waterproof leashes, along with other colorful pet products made by local businesses, all beautifully displayed. Who knew that pet supplies could look so chic?

In fact, the nearly 2,000-square-foot space, a former art gallery, is immaculate. The floors are polished cement, track lighting makes everything pop, and her custom-made bins and displays are sleek. A sitting area to the rear features comfy chairs and room for events.

“The whole concept is kind of like an urban store, a boutique specialty store,” says Morris. “Clients can go online and order their food and anything else that’s carried in the store. We pack it up and deliver it.”

Here you can find handmade dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, recyclable toys; treats; litter; poopy pickups, and pee pads in brightly wrapped packages. Nothing feels Big Box, and nothing comes from China.

In the homeopathic section, tinctures and other remedies in attractively labeled brown glass are for ailments like sensitive stomachs, mobility challenges and anxiety, all made from essential organic oils. Find paw wax and healing salve for dogs’ elbows and post-surgical stitch removal, calming balm with lavender and peppermint (not for cats but also good for humans), and a new batch of nontoxic mosquito, flea and tick spray.

Morris also carries probiotics, which enhances the immune system and puts good bacteria back in pets’ guts. She has seen great results with her dog Bailey, whose immune system was already compromised from cancer.

Another popular item at Pet Wants is Canna Drops, phytocannabinoids from the hemp plant known as CBD oil, for cats and dogs. It’s legal in all 50 states and is used for anxiety, pain, inflammation, mobility issues and seizures.

“I’ve gotten nothing but good feedback from customers,” says Morris. “Bailey has been on it since last fall. She walks three miles a day with me and she’s still energetic and wants to play.”

Watch for monthly events, visits with vet/chiropractor Dr. Grant Tully, and puppy training throughout the year.

Pet Wants
33772 Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI 48009