Summer Street with Susie Bower Rodriguez.
Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Summer Street and as of March 2023 I am the new owner of End of the Leash. Many of you know the origin story of End of the Leash but allow me to reflect on the history of this store.
In 2005, Susie Bower created an idea for a pet food store that focused on holistic companion pet care with firm roots in the nutritional aspect of health. This was a fairly revolutionary approach at the time, and Susie started out in a small location in Mukwonago.
That’s where our paths first crossed. I had just moved to Wisconsin from Illinois and was feeding my kids premium kibble and raw food. I accepted that moving to a more rural area (I live on the outskirts of Waterford and am surrounded by farmland) would limit my access to premium diets and that I would be back in the kitchen, making their food from tried-and-true holistic recipes.
And then one fateful day I drove past this adorable building in downtown Mukwonago called End of the Leash. I immediately went back to see what it was all about. I met Susie and we had a long discussion about nutrition. I knew instantly we were kindred spirits, and I no longer was a slave to the kitchen to feed my furry family. From that moment on, I knew that anything I bought in Susie’s store was going to be the highest quality of food available in the market.
Over the years I watched as Susie educated the community on nutrition and her store grew and grew and grew! I was so happy for her success and that her mission was being realized. And I was proud to live in a community that embraced the reality that they could improve the health of their companion animals simply by improving their nutrition. Watching people discover the health benefits of quality foods for their pets was heartening to see.
During the 17 years of Susie’s rising success, I was working in the corporate world. In late 2022 the universe showed me that journey was complete. I had to decide what I really wanted to be when I grew up. This was simultaneously frightening and exhilarating. I was working at a street fair in Burlington for my husbands’ store, Musicology, and a couple came up to me asking where a pet boutique was. I realized Burlington did not have its own version of End of the Leash and immediately I thought of Susie.
I reached out to her and asked if she was interested in a joint venture or if she had ever considered selling End of the Leash. After several amazing meetings, a new future opened for both of us. For Susie, time to enjoy some quiet after 17 years of hard work developing a brand that is now a household name in our community. For myself, embarking on a dream come true. I had worked in pet supply retail in my youth, and I enjoyed those years more than anything else in my ‘professional’ career. My love affair with animals began from my first memories – and includes not only furry friends but insects (my house spiders and I have a deal), woodland critters, ocean life, and pretty much everything included in the Animal Kingdom.
My husband and I have horses, dogs, and cats, and I co-parent a flock of chickens with my dear friend and neighbor. For fun I like to embrace my inner-nerd and spend hours researching animal (from cats to horses) diets and food, supplements, holistic treatments, training, gear (saddles to hand-beaded dog collars) and love to talk endlessly to anyone who shares those interests. This is why Susie and I got along so well and why this passing of the baton feels very right for both of us.
My commitment to the founding mission of the End of the Leash will not change, and you can count on our same knowledgeable staff to deliver the customer service experience you are accustomed to when you shop at End of the Leash.
Our MISSION is to help pets live a long, healthy and happy life.
Our PASSION is to help owners become aware of what is in pet food and help them choose foods that are all natural and nutritionally complete, and to encourage them to be proactive about their pet’s health.
I am honored to continue the good work that Susie started 17 years ago, and will bring the same passion for all of our companion animals to the store that our loyal customers deserve and expect.
I look forward to serving you, and thank you for your business and continued support.
All my best,