Spotlight Braxton’s – Meet John Braxton

It is well known that Braxton’s Animal Works is a third-generation business, but have you ever wondered who’s at the helm now? Well, I had the pleasure of sitting down with John Braxton, current co-owner of Braxton’s. John and his brother, Dave, currently run the ship.

John says, “Everyone in the family worked here at some point.” His early memories are of age 7 or 8 when John’s dad, Bill Braxton, would pick him up from school and let him hang out in the shop. He loved the idea of spending time with his dad. He would sweep the floors, price items, and watch his dad interact with the customers, both human and furry.

At that time, Braxton’s was more than just a retail store. Located on the same corner of Lancaster Avenue and Sugartown Road, the Braxton’s ran a grooming shop and kennels as well as the pet store.

As John got older, he took on other jobs at the property including running to buy food for the groomers at the corner store and bathing and prepping dogs to be groomed. John loved working with the people and the animals.

In high school he would pick up weekend shifts at the kennels where he cleaned up after the animals, fed them, and let them out.

After high school, John wanted to pursue a degree in business. He went to Drexel University and studied business marketing. Through this experience, he had the opportunity to do a work study at a computer company and some market research at Tastykake. This time away from the business only made him realize that Braxton’s Animal Works was his calling.

In 1985, John joined the family business full-time. Even though the boarding and grooming services were still located on the property, Braxton’s no longer operated them. John worked in the retail store. “It is all about customer service,” Bill Braxton told his son, and “taking care of our customers.” John has always loved the “community aspect” of the business.

Although the industry has changed dramatically in 30 years, Braxton’s continues to maintain that hometown, community feel. “We used to be a utilitarian dog food and products store,” says John, “but over the years, our product line has grown drastically.”

The store continues to offer high quality pet food options; however, they now carry a diverse product line including pet strollers, pet snuggies, and colorful beds. “We used to carry black and brown leather dog collars,” says John, “now you can get a pet collar in any color or fabric.”

In this day and age when you can procure pet items anywhere, customers still come to Braxton’s. John believes that this is because of their core focus, “educating customers.” Chad Barone, store manager, is a big part of their success in this area. He has been a consistent face for about 20 years and is front line with customers and employees.

John says, “It’s a balancing act to adapt to the future and maintain the core values and history of the family.”

Will there be a 4th generation? The jury is still out. Most of the 4th generation have worked after school or on weekends at the store in various capacities, but no one has stepped up as of yet. The door is “always open.”

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. We love Braxtons! Our family has been shopping for our furry friends here for 20 years at least. We love the atmosphere, the great selection and the fact that we can bring our dogs in to shop!
    Thanks for this great article.

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