By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

BOZEMAN–Josh Allen always wanted own his own business. He didn’t think it would be dog store, but he’s happy that’s how it turned out.

“Pet people, dog owners, generally are happy,” he says. “I think pets enrich our lives.”

Allen and his wife Holly, both Montana natives and MSU alumni, started Dee-o-Gee in 2008. Not the best time to start a new business, Allen admits, but they’ve grown anyway, and now have five other employees.

The store, on eighth and Main in Bozeman, sells mostly eco-friendly products, manufactured in the U.S., and from “small mom and pop businesses,” Allen says. They also offer dog grooming, healthy dog food and homemade gourmet dog treats.

The grooming, which accounts for 25 – 30 percent of business, draws customers from Bozeman, Big Sky, Ennis, Livingston, Gardiner and Billings.

Allen credits community support for Dee-o-gee’s success, plus the number of dog people in Bozeman.

“We learned first hand the value of local small business to a local or regional economy. How important it is to support people who are your neighbors, instead of spending dollars at a big chain.”

The company’s new website has online shopping for everything in the store, and a full line delivery service that includes toys, treats and pet food. While the delivery service is only in and around Bozeman, regional one day shipping is also available.

Allen says having loyal customers has also enabled Dee-o-Gee to give back. They donate dog food to the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman, sponsor events at the shelter and the fairgrounds, and give a cut of their profits to their church.

“I love that part of being a business owner,” he says, “being in the fabric of a community.”