elmwood Pet Supplies

Kimberly Mintz, AOL

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Sure, you could get supplies for your favorite furry pal from a chain pet store. However, when you're on a #CatQuest in and around Buffalo to find the very best food, kitty bed, and customer service, there are five standouts run by local merchants. Here's where you can go to make sure that the feline that rules your roost gets everything her sweet heart deserves.

1. Creekside Pets & Supplies
Not far south of the downtown Buffalo area is this family-owned pet store in Lackawanna that gets rave reviews from its patrons. With prices that are competitive – or even lower – than the big-box stores, one customer described Creekside as having a "great vibe" as soon as you walk in the door. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and if you're buying treats for your baby and decide he needs a fish as entertainment, Creekside has one of the largest selections of aquatic animals and equipment in the area.

2. Elmwood Pet Supplies
With an attractive storefront that's in complete contrast to a large chain (you wouldn't expect less for the historic Elmwood Village), the pet-friendly Elmwood Pet Supplies gets great reviews among Buffalo pet owners for being helpful without being pushy, and for ordering anything you need but can't find in the store. Parking can be tough, as their lot is small, and the aisles in the store are narrow; these minor blips are offset by owners who regularly donate proceeds to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter – and by the fact that you can get peacock feathers for kitty to play with for a song.

One of the best parts about shopping at the Eastern Hills Mall is wandering into Honey Hill. If you're there on a weekend, chances are good you'll run across any number of local animal rescues holding adoption events right outside the store. When you're done melting over the cats and kittens (and sometimes greyhounds), you can head inside the cozy interior to get supplies; prices are competitive with the chains. There are also shelter cats for adoption within the store, along with sugar gliders, chinchillas, and hedgehogs – but let's face it, you're here for the cats.

4. Blackwinds Pet Supplies
With claims that it's the "Oldest and Best Pet Store" in Niagara Falls, the family-owned Blackwinds is now the biggest of the locally-owned offerings, having just opened a second store in Tonawanda on Colvin Boulevard. Their staff is chosen for their love of animals and knowledge of all the products, and the store partners with local animal shelters such as Heart of Niagara to find homes for displaced cats and dogs. They also have a rewards program that lets you get 3% back on everything you buy, so when you're getting only the best for Whiskers, you're saving some money, too. Bonus: Blackwinds' website is the most comprehensive of the local shops, listing a good number of the brands they offer, so you can browse online before you even leave the house.

5. Grandpaws Pet Emporium
When you're done stuffing your face at the Brickyard in Lewiston (save some leftovers for your cat BFF!), the best thing to do to aid digestion? Take a walk down Center Street and into Grandpaws. Now located in the lovely corner plaza (with bowls of water thoughtfully set out for thirsty pets), the customer service is fantastic and the atmosphere is always inviting – and they even have a pet-friendly café. They offer holistic cat and dog food that you might not find in the chain stores, such as Fromm, and if you bring your pet inside, prepare to get a treat (for the pet, not you). However, you can head into the adjoining Sgt. Pepper's Hot Sauces Etc. to get some cheese just for you...Who are you kidding? You share everything with your happy purring machine. And you wouldn't have it any other way.

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