OysterBones, formerly PETunia, has served the pet community for approximately 12 years. In January 2011, Dixie Partington acquired the business as the fundraising arm of the Dixie Theatre, a local not-for-profit organization.
After spending over three years at the original location, the store was relocated just a little over a block away to a more favorable spot. During this move, Dixie merged with her biscuit company, founded in 1998, and rebranded as OYSTERBONES®. Despite the relatively small space, the area was transformed into a delightful Doggie Toy Testing Area with a fenced yard, play area, and even a puppy pool.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael had other plans and caused damage to the location, leading OYSTERBONES to find their new Furever Home about a block and a half away at 115 market street in Apalachicola. The new space offers double the size of the previous location and even backs up to the Dixie Theatre's yard, now repurposed into a magnificent fenced area.
Today, OYSTERBONES® is best known for its mouthwatering Delicious Dog Biscuits, crafted with the world-famous Apalachicola Bay oyster shells. These delectable treats are baked on-site every other Saturday. Additionally, Melissa's River Wraps were introduced, consisting of cow femur wrapped with OYSTERBONES® dough and named after Melissa, who manages the Pet Shop and bakes these tasty delights. Dogs adore them!
Over the years, OYSTERBONES® have seen a positive shift in pet owners' attitudes toward their furry friends. “People are increasingly providing excellent care and love to their dogs and cats, which brings us great joy,” said Dixie. “Our business has flourished, allowing us to expand our stock of favorite products such as Up Country Collars.”
“Our clientele is a delightful mix of locals and tourists, with some customers even considering us a destination. We are grateful to have regular customers from the local area and visitors who vacation with us once or twice a year. In fact, one devoted dog mom brings her two girls in almost every day!”
OYSTERBONES® have proudly been carrying Up Country products since their establishment. “Our display rack, known as the "Candy Case," showcases Up Country Collars. One side is dedicated to Coastal and Beach designs, while the other offers a wide variety of captivating designs. Our top-selling patterns include Pink Palms, Reef, Sea Life, Sea Horses, Pirate, Rainbows, Beer, Fly Fishing, Cherry Blossoms, and the now-discontinued Mustache and Under the Sea. Up Country even designed a marvelous custom collar exclusively for our store, which has been a great success. We hold Up Country products in the highest regard and take immense pride in offering them to our customers.”
A few months ago, a heartwarming incident happened when a customer brought in two miniature goats to be fitted for harnesses. Coincidentally, a Michael Jackson song played on the radio while they were at the store. The goats chimed in each time Michael sang the "oh, oh, oh" in the chorus, creating a precious and fun moment.
When OYSTERBONES® is not serving their customers, they are actively participating in various events like Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers Mardi Gras Pet Parade, Chef's Sampler Fundraiser for the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Oyster Cook-off supporting the Apalachicola Fire Department, the St. George Island Brewfest, and lastly, they proudly sponsor the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserves Estuary Day.
When we asked Dixie about her favorite part of being in the pet industry, she responded, “the immense joy of being surrounded by pets is what we adore most about being in the pet/gift business. It's nearly impossible to be unhappy when wagging tails and enthusiastic pets fill the store, excitedly exploring our assortment of treats and toys."