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Going to the Dogs

The Blue Cerebus is featured
in Pet Business magazine

Owner has a unique approach
to pet ownership

By Maddy Greves
Contributing Writer

(November 2011) – A Madison, Ind., pet store has garnered national attention in a magazine dedicated to pet ownership.
Dawn Cleary, owner of The Blue Cerebus, was featured in the September edition of Pet Business magazine because of the store’s uniqueness and charm. Cleary says this national publicity will help her and other local business owners when people read the article and are intrigued by Madison being the largest National Historic Landmark in the country and well known for the city’s numerous events and festivals.
“I was thrilled that out of all the dog boutiques in the United States, The Blue Cerebus was chosen to be nationally highlighted. We have received telephone calls from other big cities asking about our store,” Cleary said.
Cleary named the pet boutique after two of her dogs that passed away in 2008. With help and support from the town of Madison, Cleary’s business has continued to grow every year since April 19, 2008.
“Everything has to be healthy, earth friendly and support American companies,” said Cleary, 43.

Dawn Cleary

Photo by Maddy Greves

Dawn Cleary has created a unique pet
boutique in Madison, Ind., that has
attracted the attention of a
national pet magazine.

Her exquisite gourmet treats, five natural brands of dog food, toys and participation in city events, fundraisers and loyalty programs has set new standards and attracts locals and visitors from various places.
“This is a place for people to come to and know we provide top of the line foods and they don’t have to worry about the ingredients,” said Cleary.
Her hard work and dedication put forth to create a place where dogs can feel more like family members than pets, is finally paying off, she says.
Born and raised in Burbank, Calif., Cleary later moved to Sacramento, where she and her husband, Sean, opened two cafés, which they still own. After living there 14 years, they decided to move to Madison so Cleary could be closer to her mother.
Their original plan was to open another café, but several are already well established in the area. Once the dog boutique where Cleary purchased dog treats went out of business, her husband gave her the idea to open a similar store. After she spent a year researching the idea, she created the dog boutique.
Cleary, who has two part-time employees, stocks a full sequence of gourmet cookies, dog necessities such as travel items, floating devices, life preserves, spa products, skin-coat renewal supplements and walking devices.
“The No. 1 seller is the gourmet treats,” she says. “We sell roughly 1000 cookies per week. The second biggest seller is the toys, and the third would be walking devices, such as harnesses, collars, and leashes.”
Along with her assortment of satisfactory products, Cleary also participates in city events and fundraisers, and has developed several loyalty programs, such as the 500-member cookie club that rewards participants’ $5 worth of cookies when they spend more than $50 on gourmet cooks. The Santa Paws club boasts nearly 300 members who receive discounts during December. Lastly, each month Cleary sends out postcards for dog members’ birthdays. The birthday club allows the dog a free cookie, and the owner receives a one-time discount of anything purchased during the birthday month.
Last October, she launched “Pawllicks for Paws” which turned out to be one of her most popular events. This program allows dogs the opportunity to express their art capabilities, and all the money goes to animal organizations and displays the artwork in her store.
This year she launched a new program “Downtown Madison Dog-Gracious.” This is a dog friendly program that allows dogs in stores and provides visitors with things they can do with their dogs during their visit. So far, 15 downtown businesses have joined the program in support.
As the community works together and everyone helps, Madison continues to flourish, she says. ”I don’t want people to feel like when they come in to my store that they have to buy something. We want them to come see us so we are able to watch them grow, and see how they’re doing.”

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