Hyde Park resident, artist, and animal lover Sophie Phillips is set to open her new pet boutique, Sprocket & Stone, A Paw Shop! on July 22 at 1013 E. 53rd Street between Ellis and Greenwood Avenues.
The store will carry healthy dog and cat food and treats; all natural shampoos, conditioners, and supplements; designer-made collars and leashes; toys; a small gift section for pet lovers; and custom pet collages created by Ms. Phillips. The store will feature brands such as Orijen, Acana, Pure Vita, Primal, Fromm, Stella & Chewy’s, and more, with an emphasis on small businesses and products made in America.
Ms. Phillips was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, and pets have always been an important part of her life—at various times she’s had cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and horses. Ms. Phillips, her husband, Brian, and their 11-year-old son, Miles, currently share their home with three cats (Alley, Arthur, and Cutie) and two dogs (Sprocket and Stone).
We spoke with Ms. Phillips to learn more about her background and plans for Sprocket & Stone:
You’re originally from Belgium – how did Hyde Park become home for you?
I moved to New York in 2001, met my husband, Brian, who is from the South Side of Chicago, and together we moved to Hyde Park from Brooklyn. We wanted to be part of a community that still had a small neighborhood feel, is close to the lake, and most importantly, diverse. We love Hyde Park; it is a beautiful neighborhood with so much to offer, and our 11-year-old son currently attends Ray School.
How did you decide to open a pet boutique?
When we adopted our first dog, Sprocket, we completely fell head over heels for him and invested a lot of time in researching different training methods and nutrition programs. I wanted to share our knowledge and passion with other pet “parents,” so I founded Premier Pet Concierge, offering dog walking and cat sitting services to approximately 30 clients in Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn, and Bronzeville.
Over the past three years, I’ve built a loyal clientele and really involved myself into the field, helping clients with nutrition advice, vet referrals, and anything related to the wellbeing of their fur kids. One dog led to another, and Stone became the newest addition to our four-legged family – both dogs were my inspiration to start Sprocket & Stone. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, was brought up by a family of small business owners, and I’ve always been a people person and an entrepreneur at heart – combining these skills with my passion for animals led to the concept of Sprocket & Stone, A Paw Shop!
How did you select Hyde Park as the location for your business?
I visited two locations in Hyde Park, and as soon as I stepped into the second location, I felt it in my heart that that was it—it was the perfect size, the energy felt great, and I was inspired right away. My plan is to do a soft opening first, with a grand opening in September.
Our community is growing and changing. Sprocket & Stone will be more than just another pet store; it will be a destination. I will continue to provide outstanding pet care services, along with healthy dog and cat delicacies, cool gear and accessories, and a small art and gift section in a fun, friendly and welcoming environment – all here in the heart of beautiful Hyde Park.
What can you tell us about your logo?
The goal of the logo was to incorporate my dogs and to use the American and Chicago flag colors and style in the design. I also wanted something that was pet-related but cool enough to really stand out as the image of a retail boutique with a bit of vintage character. The name, “A Paw Shop,” was a play on words from “pawn shop.” The decor will reflect the logo, with an eclectic mix of vintage, wood, metal, and recycled materials.
What can you tell us about your custom pet art?
I create customized, one-of-a-kind pieces available to order, and the process starts with the selection of various clippings and inspiring quotes from magazines according to color, shape, and size, which are then applied to a high-quality gesso board to create totally unique, vibrant, and funky pet artwork. Each collage is then protected by a liquid glass resin that gives it depth and texture.
Business hours are planned to be 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. You can reach Sprocket & Stone at www.sprocketandstone.com, https://www.facebook.com/sprocketandstonechicago, and @sprocketandstone on Instagram.