Meet Dave

Dave Ratner, Owner

Dave Ratner, Owner

Hi! I’m Dave.

It’s nice to meet you. As an independent retailer, I’ve always valued the opportunity to get to know the people I’m doing business with, and I figure you might feel the same way. So for what it’s worth, here’s my story, the good, the bad, and the…well, I’d like to think none of it is too ugly!

Way back in 1975, I was selling cases of soda out of the bays of an empty gas station in Hadley, MA. Life was good, but I thought things would be better – and I’d be able to meet some women! – if I had a dog. So that next year, I bought a puppy, Bentley Beagle.

Once you have a dog, you need dog food! I noticed there was a lot more pet food in the supermarket than there was soda. So I decided to go into the pet food business! My little soda shop became Dave’s Soda & Pet City. Today Dave’s is a 7 store, award-winning mini chain that boasts a fanatically loyal customer base and bunches of employees who have been there forever. We sell just about every brand of pet food known to man and yes, we still sell cases of soda.

Thanks to the hard work of my crew, Dave’s is the habitual winner of the Advocate “Best of the Valley” Pet Shop Award, the Springfield Republican Reader Raves Award and we even won the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. The local Fox and ABC affiliate let me have a ½ hour TV show (Dave’s Pet Show) each week, and it’s been a great way to connect with our customers. We are finishing our 16th season!!! We really focus on trying to be a great small business. We are involved with, sponsor, donate to, and just plain help almost every local charity for people and animals. We are an integral part of the community. Dave’s Soda & Pet City is truly an icon in Western Mass.

My passion for the survival of independent businesses leads me to become active on the board of the Retail Association of Massachusetts which led to the most fabulous honor…

I was recently elected to the board of the National Retail Federation. I’ve got to tell you, this is just about the coolest thing ever. Some of my fellow board members are the CEOs of Polo, Saks, Guitar Center, Gap, Petco, Tractor Supply, Macys… and then there’s me. What a hoot! A few years ago, I even wound up in front of Congress, testifying to both houses about independent retailers’ issues and concerns.

All of this makes me proud – but it pales in comparison to being the trophy husband of my wife, Ellen. We’ve been together 35 years now; she claims it is absolutely the happiest 8 years of her life! We’ve got three kids, too – I can’t remember their names right this minute! – and 2 German Shepherds, Trudie and Oggie. Just don’t ask me who I like best!

Look below to see Dave’s highly trained shepherds!