One of Us: Valerie Costello


Valerie Costello is a Nocatee resident who is getting ready to open an all-natural pet food and supply store, EarthWise Pet Supply, in January. The store will be located in the South Beach Regional Shopping Center in Jacksonville Beach. In addition to all natural pet food and treats, the store will also have a groomer on staff and a self-wash area for patrons to bathe their pets using the store’s all-natural bathing products. Costello and her husband, Daniel, have three children – one boy and two girls ages seven, five and three. The family also has two cats: Sampson and Sheffield, but as Costello noted, with three children begging for a family dog, a canine companion is surely in their future.

Tell me about your family.

My husband Daniel and I have three children: seven, five and three – one boy and two girls. 

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Oxford, Ohio, and then from there I went to Chicago after college, met my husband and then we lived in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for about three years. And then we moved to Jacksonville Beach from Pinehurst about eight and a half years ago.

Tell me about EarthWise.

EarthWise is actually a franchise that started in Portland, Oregon. Nationwide, there are a total of 34 stores. There are only four actually in Florida though, so we are going to be the fifth one to open in all of Florida. 

Basically the mission is just to help our pets live the healthiest, longest lives that they can through nutrition. Just like with us, what we put in our bodies affects the way that we feel, the way that we look and the same goes for our pets. A lot of the problems that animals have can be related to the diets that they are on. So much of the food that’s in the big box stores is kind of like just feeding your pet McDonald’s every day. So if you ate McDonald’s every day, you wouldn’t feel so good. 

So EarthWise all of our food is corn, soy, wheat and by-product free. It’s high-quality food, but the goal is to anybody that walks in your store, we will be able to find an appropriate food based on your budget. 

What other services do you offer?

In addition we also offer grooming services and a self-wash area where you can wash your pet using all of our all-natural products. We provide the towels — you can even get nail trims if you want.

Besides pet food, what other types of items will the store stock?

Just about anything – leashes, collars, toys, treats — and again, anything food based will still be within our goal of all natural. I can pretty much get my hands on anything that anybody wants. I’ll be able to help customers with anything they are specifically looking for.

What made you decide to open this store?

I was a fourth grade teacher in North Carolina and prior to that I actually did litigation consulting in Chicago. With our oldest son starting school, we just started thinking about in five years, where do we want to be and what do we want to be doing, so we started looking at different franchise opportunities. We absolutely love animals, and we try to live very healthy ourselves — and we accidently stumbled across this and we started researching it. It just seemed like a great way to combine both or our passions. It’s kind of amazing. So we ventured down this road and the franchise vetted us and we vetted them and it seemed like a great fit — and so here we are. Like I said, it combines two of our passions so hopefully forother people, it will meet their needs as well.

When will the store be opening?

Jan. 9, 2016.

Do you have any pets?

We have two cats: Sampson and Sheffield.