We’re a mother and daughter duo who share a lot of things - a quick and infectious smile, a mild Bachelor/Bachelorette obsession, and a passion for animals that has often driven our human companions a little crazy. We’ve been called “tender-hearted” and “soft touches,” because we just can’t seem to turn away an animal who needs help.
In our home, animals have often outnumbered the two-legged members of our family. Strays of all sorts have made their way under our roof through the years. This has meant a lot of pet parenting – vet visits, grooming, food and supplies, and of course, pet presents! But we believe every animal should be loved and, more importantly, we think it’s part of our job to help others find the kind of unconditional love that only pets can provide. We should know. Because as pet owners go – well, let’s just say we have a LOT of experience.
We’re the givers of belly rubs, long walks, and scratches behind the ears, and we firmly believe that whatever love we give to our pets, they give back to us tenfold. In fact, this philosophy is what led both of us into the pet industry – at first individually, and then together in the creation of Three Tails Parlor & Pantry.
Our company name and logo is inspired by our three dogs -- Samson, Sawyer and Scout -- because we will provide the same love and service to your pets as we do our own. We want your pets to have long, happy lives. It’s that simple. With certifications in Pet First Aid, CPR, and Pet Food Nutrition, we do our very best to ensure your pet will receive the most informed care. Stop by and visit us at either of our two Monroe County locations -- both nominated for “Neighborhood Favorite of 2019” -- or our third store in Shelbyville, and you’ll be sure to be greeted with a big, tail-wagging hello and welcomed as a part of our family!
Three Tails Named America's Coolest Pet Store by PETS+
In 2022, PETS+ Magazine, the Better Business magazine for American pet professionals, chose Three Tails Parlor and Pantry locations in Columbia and Waterloo, Ill., as one of America's Coolest pet stores.
The contest highlights the top independent pet stores and service providers from across the country. Entries were judged on their history, exterior and interior appearance, marketing, online presence and individuality.
“I loved seeing and hearing about how Taylor took a nearly 100-year-old building and transformed it into a modern pet store, while maintaining the building’s historic character and rustic charm,” PETS+ Editor-in-Chief Pamela Mitchell said. “The thoughtful and accessible product selection combined with wellness-centric services — hydrotherapy via a water treadmill and chiropractic clinics — makes me wish I lived closer so I could shop there!”
The Three Tails
Meet the three tails behind the tale!
Scout is the chief dog at our Columbia store. If you come in, make sure to ask for him. He’ll show you around and will try hard not to lick you (no promises, though.) He's the youngest of our three pups and tolerates a lot from his older brothers - and from us. We LOVE dressing him up! Is it super embarrassing? Absolutely. Are the extra head scratches and belly rubs worth it? Totally.
Our Sawyer is a big, lovable goofball. We've had to save him from himself on more occasions than we care to count. From jumping onto counters to eating the ornaments off the tree, our "middle child" has a heart bigger than his brain sometimes. But that's why we love him so much.
As the “mom” of this operation, I see myself as the protector, the caregiver, and the watchful eye over all my kids -- whether they have two legs or four. We built Three Tails in Monroe County because it has been my home for 25 years, and it is the place where my incredibly patient husband, Bob, and I raised our three kids, Robby, Taylor, and Maggi.
I’ve always been a pet lover. At a young age, I began fostering and finding homes for animals in need. I’ve been volunteering with Helping Strays of Monroe County for the last decade, where I’ve found even more adoptees to bring home. My “Aha!” moment came when I realized I could turn my passion into a business pursuit by helping other pet owners give the very best to their four-legged children. I opened Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply in 2006 and quickly realized I had found my calling. I enjoy educating people on the products and services that can best help their pets, and I also love the small-town atmosphere and the connections that are made in our stores. We have knowledgeable, friendly staff (something I take pride in!) and we are expanding every year to meet our community’s needs.
My oldest daughter, Taylor opened the first Three Tails location in Columbia in 2018 and our family friend, Jennifer Lewis, opened Three Tails Parlor and Pantry of Shelbyville in July of 2018. Not long after, we decided to bring the same services to my feed and supply store and rebrand it as our third Three Tails location. I can’t wait to see what the future brings as we continue to grow and share this passion with our larger Monroe County family.
As a kid, I watched my mom pour a ton of her time and effort into loving our pets and caring for any others she encountered. Growing up in such an animal-friendly home showed me how special the connection is between animals and humans; my dogs have always provided me with the same love and support I’ve given them. I knew I’d spend my life nurturing this connection, just like my mom.
I learned from her as she ran Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply and saw the endless possibilities for giving back to the community as a business owner. Needless to say, I caught the bug. In 2018, two weeks before I was set to graduate from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, I learned of a pet store in Columbia that was for sale. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up! Just a few months later, I opened the Three Tails’ Columbia location.
Though it may have seemed spontaneous to launch a business so soon after graduation, it felt like fate. I love what I do! I enjoy interacting with other pet lovers and educating myself on the absolute best products, food, and supplements for our furry friends. At the beginning of 2020, I will be starting my Clinical Pet Nutritionist (CPN) Program, which is a triple certification in Canine Nutrition, Feline Nutrition, and Clinical Pet Nutrition. Through completing this degree, I will gain the knowledge to best educate you on your pet’s care as well as my own. I believe food is medicine and what we give our animals dictates the amount of time they spend with us here. In my ideal world, pets would live as long as their owners.
While I can’t wave a magic wand and make that happen, I can do my best to learn what gives our pets the healthiest and longest lives and pass the information onto you. It’s my passion to ensure you have as much time together with your pet as possible, and I will advocate for your animal every given time.
This is more than a business to us. Sometimes, we lose hours of sleep worrying over animals that have come into our store with a problem. Once those four legs come through our doors, they matter as much to us as our own animals.
The day we chose Nellie to join our family, I walked into Helping Strays of Monroe County and asked which cat had been there the longest. Nellie had been at the shelter for 684 days. When they brought her in she was pregnant, but her kittens had long been adopted. She even nursed an orphan kitten back to health. Now, after a lifetime of caring for others, this little mama sat alone in a room all by herself. It only took a few seconds to know she was meant to be a part of our Three Tails family.
Ted may look like he came from the Royal House of Caterbury, but this well-groomed member of our Three Tails family was actually a stray not so long ago. Ted lived in an abandoned house not too far from the store and we often saw him wandering the streets. He was just so playful and loving, particularly for a stray, we couldn’t bear for him to spend a brutal winter living alone outside. It didn’t take long for this regal kitty to make himself at home inside Three Tails.
Meet Gabby & Buddy
Finn is the newest, wild addition to the Columbia team. Finn was rescued through a local vet after being abandoned in a Walmart parking lot at just 4 weeks old with no mom or siblings. We took him in and nursed him back to health. You can typically find Finn chasing his Flopping Pickle Toy through the entire store or sleeping on the front desk to assure he doesn't miss an ounce of attention.
If I were granted one wish, it would be for my best friend to live forever.