The Green K9 has given patrons of the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market pause recently with veterinarian-approved treats, free healthy pet food samples and CBD products for pets. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people,” said owner Marni Lewis, adding that the CBD (or cannabinoid) products have been especially popular.
Lewis acknowledged that The Green K9 with none of its own farm-raised or handmade products is a bit of an anomaly at the farmers’ market and “they were so welcoming,” she said of market organizers Jan and Ray Wickline. But heart and soul, she embraces local—and is determined to partner with as many local businesses and farms as possible when The Green K9 luxury dog daycare and healthy pet market & outfitter opens at the Urban Green Apartments in late August.
In fact, dogs celebrating a birthday at The Green K9 are in for a special treat. Urbana’s new Sage Cakery will bake a cake especially for the birthday dog and canine friends. The Green K9’s $50, one-hour birthday package includes a cake, photos, party hats, bandanas and a bag of treats.
Lewis’ roots are local and in small business. She grew up in Reisterstown, Maryland, where her mother owned a kennel and was a well-known dog trainer. Lewis’ own journey in pet care began in 2001 when she founded the first luxury pet resort in Southern Florida. This was such a novel idea back then that they made the front page of The Miami Herald.
Lewis came up with the luxury pet resort concept after a traumatic experience boarding her own dog in Florida. “It was an old-school kennel, no air-conditioning. … I thought, ‘I can do better,’” she recalled.
She built this first Davies, Florida-based business from the ground up. Then in 2010, she opened The Green K9 in Mount Dora, Florida. “The inspiration to open a healthy pet specialty store (The Green K9) was because of the loss of several of my own dogs to cancer,” she said. “In 2006 I went to the Global Pet Expo and learned about eco-friendly and all-natural pet products such as organic, raw and minimally processed foods and treats and supplements that promote lifelong health and longevity. After seeing amazing results with my own pets, I was hooked and became passionate about sharing these products with other pet owners. I have a BS in health education, so it was a natural fit for me.”
She recently moved back to Maryland and settled in Urbana to be close to her sister. The Urban Green Apartments, where she lives, are pet friendly and “everybody has a dog here.” With its dog park and outdoor patio space, Lewis knew the site would be perfect for The Green K9 Urbana.
The 4,330-square-foot luxury pet resort will offer daycare for dogs 40 pounds and under, events like dog birthday parties and Yappy Hours on the Urban Green patio, grooming and self-wash stations, and a healthy pet market and outfitter.
The market will sell the “least processed foods,” Lewis said, such as raw, freeze-dried, dehydrated or lightly cooked foods. Emphasis will be on organic foods.
The outfitter will carry harnesses, collars, leashes, clothing, halties and halters.
“These are unique things you won’t find elsewhere,” Lewis said. She encourages patrons to bring their dogs to the shop because choice “really depends on the dog.”
Lewis can recommend the best products for your dog and even “give a quick training on how to walk the dog and how to get the dog to heel.”
Local contractor Tri-Kelly is doing the buildout that Lewis said will include a daycare room with dog couches for resting and a self-wash shower station for really big dogs. Despite the couches, Lewis said daycare at The Green K9 is different because there are no scheduled naptimes.
Dogs go outside once every hour for potty breaks and stimulation. “They’re active all day and constantly interacting,” she said. “They can rest themselves, but they have company all day.”
Visit The Green K9 at the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market each Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the summer. For more information, visit www.greenk9urbana.com.