published Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Small Biz: Nooga Paws offers healthy food for furry friends in Chattanooga

Bob and Courtney Poore stand in their store, Nooga Paws.
Bob and Courtney Poore stand in their store, Nooga Paws.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
Nooga Paws
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• Name: Nooga Paws

• Owners: Bob and Courtney Poore

• Location: 313 Manufacturers Road, Suite 111, Chattanooga

• Opened: August 2012, holding a one-year anniversary party Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Service: Nooga Paws is a natural pet market that focuses on healthy, natural foods and recycled, post-consumer products. The shop maintains a product mix that's about 70 percent food and 30 percent goods such as collars, leashes and toys. Co-owner Bob Poore tries to buy from local vendors as much as possible and puts his sales staff through a college-level nutrition course before they take the floor. The store also features two wash stations for owners to give baths to their pets.

• Prices: Prices at the shop vary widely by product, and Poore tries to provide options for pet owners at all income levels.

• Staff: Seven

• How it got started: The Poores sold their house, took out a small business loan and put a six-figure investment into opening Nooga Paws a year ago after one of their dogs developed some fatty tumors. The Poores realized they'd been feeding their dogs a diet that included colored dyes and some derivatives of antifreeze and launched Nooga Paws as a place for pet owners to learn about their pets' diets and easily find natural options. "We know it would be a grind; we knew it would be hard, but we really wanted to do it," Bob Poore said. "It's a fun thing for us, and we feel like we're selling something that matters."

• Five-year goal: While first-year sales have exceeded expectations, the store is just now settling in to a comfortable groove, Poore said. The company's five-year goals are shifting but could include future expansions and growth, he added.

• Website:

• Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

• Phone number: 423-531-6113

-- Compiled by Shelly Bradbury, who may be reached at 757-6525 or at

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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