Featured Retailer of the Month
Four Your Paws Only - Celebrating 30 Years!
Brian and Kathy Ahearn knew that they wanted to open their own pet-related business, and that dream became a reality after a camping trip in the summer of 1994. At the time, Brian was managing a large pet supply store in MA, and Kathy was a pet groomer, but the couple knew they wanted more and had been looking for a location to open their own business in MA.
The Ahearns were frequent visitors to the Valley back then and had been camping at Jigger Johnson off the Kanc with family and their 4-month-old son, Kevin. They had come into town on the 4th of July and walked by a building that had a for lease sign on it. Half-kiddingly a family member had commented to Brian and Kathy, “You should open your business there.” And that's how it all began. By August, the Ahearns had packed up and moved to Bartlett along with Kevin, 4 dogs, 1 horse, 1 chinchilla, 1 dove, and opened Four Your Paws Only in a small 750 sq. ft. space in North Conway Village (where Assets Jean Company is now).
Brian and Kathy’s original plan was to open a gift shop for pets, but soon learned that there was also a need for higher quality pet foods and pet supplies in the Valley. Within two years, Four Your Paws Only quickly grew out of that space and moved into a 1600sq. ft. space on the other side of the building.
The Ahearns have always considered pets as members of the family and welcomed pets into their store which was almost unheard of back then. Knowing how much they loved spending time with their dogs, they began hosting a variety of their own pet related events for dogs and their owners to enjoy, including Doggie Playgroups, Puppy Parties, Halloween Pet Costume Contests, Pet Photos with Santa Paws, Doggie Ice Cream Socials, Puppy Bowls, Training Classes & more.
From the beginning, the Ahearns' passion for helping animals in need prompted them to start hosting fundraising events, adoption days, and meet & greets with a variety of animal rescues which included cats, dogs, ferrets, and bunnies. The community embraced this popular little Mom & Pop store, and it was well known as the local hangout for dogs & their owners.
In 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Brian drove down to Mississippi with much-needed supplies and to volunteer with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a week, then drove home delivering rescued dogs to temporary shelters along the way. Several years later, the couple founded The White Mountain Disaster Animal Response Team, an animal response team which sets up temporary animal shelter in the event of a natural disaster. Kathy is a founding board member of The Conway Area Humane Society and has also been very involved with The White Mountain Horse Association since its inception.
In 2009, Four Your Paws Only grew again and moved into a 5200sq.ft. space which is its current location.
Moving into a larger space with better parking allowed them to do even more for the pet community including offering more healthy pet food options, more quality pet supply choices, more gifts for pets & pet lovers, more space for doggie playgroups, space for even more pet-friendly events, and the addition of their famous in-store pet bakery.
In addition to running this busy store and helping animals in need, Brian and Kathy were also very involved with their community over the years as well: from donating to the many, many non-profits and schools around the Valley, to volunteering their time coaching sports, ski programs, PTA, classrooms, theater, community center events, and so many others. Brian and Kathy are both currently on the Board of Directors of the White Mountain Independents (WMI) and Kathy is the chair of the WMI’s Marketing Committee.
Today, two generations of Ahearns now work in the store. In 2018, Brian and Kathy’s son Kevin and his wife Sarah moved back to the Valley to help run the family business and help carry on with Four Your Paws Only’s mission. With more and more chains and big box stores popping up in the Valley, it’s getting a little more challenging for them, but after 30 years in business this small family-owned store is no stranger to the ups & downs of running a small business. They will continue to provide their customers with top notch customer service, offer quality pet food & supplies, and be there for their community and animals in need.