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Community Highlights: Meet Jeffrey Jensen of Four Muddy Paws

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeffrey Jensen.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It all started because of our first Dog Salem. We found him as a puppy running along and on a highway down near Salem Missouri on our way to a camping trip with friends. We were the only car that stopped and scooped him up. We checked with homes around where we found him and no one had ever seen him before, So that is when he immediately became part of our family. Matt was a school teacher at the time and Jeff worked for May Dept Stores. Matt had always wanted to own his own business as his dad did so he was going through many ideas until one day came up with the concept of what our store is now.

An all-in-one stop shop for pets that include Healthy diets for both dog and cats, grooming, and a self-service wash along with pet supplies, freshly baked treats, pet gear, collars, leads, and toys. All functional products for dogs and cats. We were not into the fluffy boutique items but wanted to find items that were fun and/or functional for pets that looked good too. That includes everything from Collars, leads, training gear, treats, and toys. Our food focus is on the natural Raw category. We personally choose high-quality foods for both dogs and cats. Matt put together a business plan while he was still teaching and we opened our shop in November 2004 on Geyer Ave in McKinnley Heights Neighborhood. We were in that spot for 3 years when Matt spotted a potential building in Lafayette square where they lived, made an offer on it, and got it.

It had a massive restoration all the way down to the brick walls. We moved into that spot in 2007. Jeff was still working for Macy’s (they bought May during this period). Then in 2008 was offered a position in New York with Macy’s after they decided to close down in St. Louis. Jeff decided to stay in St. Louis and look for a new position elsewhere. We then started talking about instead of him finding another job why don’t we open a second location and he joins the company full time? We pick Edwardsville as we had a few customers coming over from there, yet it was far enough away it would not take away current customers from our Lafayette Square store. So in the fall of 2008, we signed a lease for a new store in Edwardsville. Mind you that this was the time of the Fall of the Lehmon brothers and the economy. But we decided to move forward anyway. Our second store opened in January 2009.
Both stores keep thriving year after year.

People keep asking if we are going for a third or fourth and we decided to just stay with the two and focus on them, keep growing and updating them. It also gives us the opportunity to still be hands-on in both stores with all the decision-making. We have great managers and staff in both stores who keep the front of the store running in tip-top condition, helping customers with any type of issue they may have with their pets. You can find Matt and Jeff mostly in the St. Louis shop in the back room office where they handle the store’s operations and marketing. It has been both a challenging and wonderful experience owning this shop and seeing how many people and pets we have helped throughout the years.

It will always be our number priority to help educate and listen to our pet parent clients about their needs.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Definitely no. Going through the timeline, we opened about 1 1/2 years before the massive nationwide pet food recall in 2007 due to Melamine being found in pet food resulting in the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats. We were diligent about what foods we selected and that was helpful in bringing in many new customers knowing we had high-quality food.

Then there was the collapse of the economy in 2008. We had customers who did not have jobs still come in and buy food for their pets from us. We signed our lease for our Edwardsville location the week that Lehmann Brothers collapsed.

Next was DCM (Dilated cardiomyopathy). This is still an ongoing issue even though it was proven to be inconclusive information given by the FDA. Keeping up with the latest studies and nutritional information is key for us to help our customer’s pets thrive.

Finding committed team members is always a challenge. We’ve been blessed over the years with so many compassionate people helping our customer’s pets.

The latest challenge is managing the impact of inflation and supply chain issues. We work very hard with our suppliers to continue to offer the best value we can.

We’ve been impressed with Four Muddy Paws, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Four Muddy Paws is a Healthy Pet Market located in Lafayette Square, St. Louis, and in Edwardsville Il. It is an all-in-one stop and shop. We provide grooming, and self-service wash stations, along with Toys, treats, freshly baked treats, collars and leads, all kinds of pet gear, supplements, and all-natural dry and raw diets for Dogs and Cats. We specialize in feeding natural raw diets for both dogs and cats and educating our pet parent clients on the benefits of natural diets.

We are an educational store so many parents do come in to have us help them find the right food, supplement, collar, treat, training gear, and or toy for their pet. We personally curate our store selection through our experience and through customer suggestions as long as they meet our strict standards and beliefs of what is good for pets. We’re a bridge between our customers and regular veterinary care and the staff goes through extensive pet nutritional training, and Jeff is finalizing his Certified Pet Nutritionist certification.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Wanting to work hard, staying focused on your business and the needs of your customers. Also, stay true to yourself and your beliefs and always look at what’s best for our dog’s and cat’s physical and emotional well-being.

Contact Info:

  • Website: fourmuddypaws.com
  • Instagram: @fourmuddypaws
  • Facebook: fourmuddypaws
  • Twitter: @fourmuddypawsFMP
  • Youtube: Four Muddy Paws The Healthy Pet Market
  • TikTok: @fourmuddypawsstl

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