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2011 ‘Buy Local’ Holiday Shopping: Day 21 – Animal Outfitters

In the spirit of giving and showing those we love how much we care for them, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer gift ideas for our four-legged friends. Animal Outfitters is a pet specialty store that has been around in the Elmwood Village for about six years now. Originally located on Bryant off of Elmwood, Animal Outfitters moved to their current spot on Elmwood at Potomac about a year ago (see post), and doubled their size, as well as their offerings. The store is spacious, yet still encompasses the same warm and inviting vibe it had when it was on Bryant. Owners Omar Zahzouhi and Susana Tejada have made it a priority to offer creature comforts in their shop, and it shows. It’s a pleasant shopping experience, from the beautiful aesthetics of the store to the friendly pet-loving staff. I was shopping for my beloved Gus, who has more allergies than I can name, and the folks at Animal Outfitters were not only extremely knowledgeable, but offered several treat options that I know will make Gus a happy guy on Christmas morning.
When I asked Omar about the shop’s best seller and what they would like to highlight as a unique gift item, his response was something that I couldn’t have said or written better if I tried. So, the following Best Seller and Unique Gift Idea passages are from Omar in his own words. You can sense his passion for what he does, and I wanted to let that enthusiasm show on its own, unaltered. If you’re an animal lover, you know how important it is to have a fellow animal enthusiast offering advice and guidance on what your furry (or non-furry) friend may need to feel comfortable and content. Omar’s thoughtful suggestions are just some of the many special items Animal Outfitters has to offer, and I encourage anyone to go in and pick out something special for your loving friend.
Best Seller: 

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“Treats are always a favorite purchase for our four-legged customers and their human companions. One of our best-sellers for our canine friends has got to be the Himalayan Dog Chew–a healthy, all-natural dog treat derived from an authentic, traditional recipe from the people of the Himalayas. The chew is essentially a hardened cheese log made from a combination of yak and cow’s milk and lime juice. The chew is very hard, long-lasting, and fully digestible. Dogs love the taste of them and enjoy the satisfaction of having to work hard for their reward. They come in four sizes–for the small to the extra-large dog.  Humans like the fact that they don’t have an odor–unlike bones and some other types of chew treats. As small business owners, we also like knowing that we are supporting a fair trade product that contributes to the improved economic development of many of the farming families of Nepal. We were one of the first retail stores in the country to introduce this great product, and definitely the first to do so in Buffalo! Come into our store, and we’ll give you an insider’s tip on how you can extend your dog’s enjoyment of this ‘Everest-sized treat’ to the very end!”  
Unique Gift Idea:

“For that special pet in your life, we’ve brought in a new, unique line of personalized feeders for the dog who dreams of his or her own French bistro! These wooden feeders are hand-crafted and hand-painted by artisans in the USA. Available in small, medium, or large, these one-of-a-kind diners are embellished to your liking–just add your dog’s name to a choice of Provençal-inspired, French-themed designs! C’est tres chic!”
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Animal Outfitters
986 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 884-2420
What To Do While You’re There:
Ashker’s Juice Bar just opened in early November, offering a touch of health and happiness to the community. True to its name, Ashker’s offers a variety of fusion smoothies and juices (both are blends of fruit and vegetables) and fruit smoothies, all made from the freshest ingredients. Whether you’re health conscious, health curious, or just looking for a pick-me-up as you plow through the rest of your holiday shopping list, consider stopping in at Ashker’s and enjoy a quiet drink or bite to eat (they also offer breakfast, wraps, paninis, and salads). For me, my Ruby Bliss juice was a tasty and easy way to sneak in some veggies for the day. 
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Owners Angelo Ashker and Sarah Nasca are great people who are excited to be offering a health-conscious spot in the Elmwood Village that also promotes community well-being and positivity. Ashker’s isn’t just a juice bar or café; they’re also a gallery that hosts various community-building workshops, seminars and exhibits, and even have a chiropractor and nutritionist on-site. Now through mid-January, you can see “The Narrative Artist” exhibit, featuring illustrations by Nick Cherre. Next month, they’re having an exhibit in their gallery on graffiti art, and, separately, offering a purification cleanse for those interested in hitting a “restart” button on their diet and health in the New Year. Ashker’s offers much more than a lovely glass of fresh and healthy juice. They’re on a quest to be a multi-faceted health and wellness center for our community. That, alone, is reason enough to stop in and see what Ashker’s is all about. 
As an aside, it’s worth noting that Ashker’s also has a free conference room available that is open to the public, complete with free wifi. The room is rather spacious and professional, and can be used for any number of meetings held amongst community organizations, freelance consultants, or anyone else who would require professional meeting space.
Ashker’s Juice Bar
1002 Elmwood Avenue 
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 886-2233
Bonus Stop:
If you’re within spitting distance of Zillycakes (see history), you would be crazy not to stop in and treat yourself. Let me tell you, I’ve been a fan of Zilly’s scrumptious treats for awhile, but the Cassata Cupcake she’s offering for the month of December is hands-down the best cupcake I’ve had. I don’t say this lightly. I am rather discerning when it comes to Cassata, or cupcakes for that matter, but Zilly nailed it. Do yourself a favor and try this incredible December flavor before the month runs out. 
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Zillycakes | 1008 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222 | 716-883-0365
Photo credits: Animal Outfitters, Katie Krawczyk

Gift Suggestion #20 – Moda
Gift Suggestion #19 – West Side Bazaar

Gift Suggestion #18 – Urban Threads & Campus Wheelworks
Gift Suggestion #17 – Blue Sky Design
Gift Suggestion #16 – Destination by Lee
Gift Suggestion #15 – Treehouse
Gift Suggestion #14 – NEO Gift Studio
Gift Suggestion #13 – Wild Things
Gift Suggestion #12 – Peek-A-Boo
Gift Suggestions #11 – Urban Roots
Gift Suggestions #10 – Parker Pharmacy
Gift Suggestions #9 – Burning Books
Gift Suggestions #8 – New Buffalo Graphics
Gift Suggestions #7 – Lotions and Potions
Gift Suggestions #6 – Blue Hill Kitchen and Home

Gift Suggestions #4 – San Bor Sports

Gift Suggestions #3 – reimagine
Gift suggestions #2 – The Buffalo Scooter Shop
Gift Suggestions #1 – Homeward Bound

Written by Katie Krawczyk

Katie Krawczyk is a freelance writer who has contributed to Buffalo Rising since 2009. A Buffalo re-pat, Katie moved back to the city in 2006 after living in Washington, DC, The Netherlands and Indiana. In addition to being a writer, Katie is a business owner, PR specialist, philanthropist, world traveler, and self-proclaimed life enthusiast. She loves her hometown as much as she loves chocolate and peanut butter.

View All Articles by Katie Krawczyk
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