One of Decatur’s newest businesses is Corrina’s Corner. Corrina isn’t the owner; she’s the owner’s dog and the inspiration for the business. Business owner Jacques Duplantier explained it this way: “I found Corrina at an animal rescue place. She was in such poor health that they didn’t want me to adopt her. She was almost completely bald, totally lethargic and had scratched open wounds into her skin. They thought the best thing would be just to put her to sleep, but I was stubborn and finally they let me adopt her. It turned out that she just had severe food allergies. I changed her diet and within three weeks she looked like a different animal.”
Although he’s a lawyer by training, Duplantier said making and selling fresh pet food is what he really wants to do. “It’s a passion for me,” he said. “This place is as much about advocacy as it is about business, although I certainly have no objection to making a good living here.”
The foods Duplantier sells in what he calls the “deli” section of his store are prepared under a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “It’s human quality food,” he said. “I buy my meat from the same wholesale distributor who supplies some of Atlanta’s best restaurants.”
Duplantier said he wants people to think about pet nutrition in a different way. “Switching from grain-based commercially processed food is not spoiling and pampering animals,” Duplantier said, it’s about feeding pets the diet their bodies are designed to handle. “Pets should eat diets that more closely reflect what their wild cousins would eat. Natural, unprocessed proteins and limited carbohydrates are biologically appropriate,” he said.
He said that while the food he sells is more expensive than low-grade store brands, the prices are comparable with those of premium brands. “But look what you’re getting,” he added. “This is antibiotic- and hormone-free meat with small amounts of vegetables to provide some fiber and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. It’s easy to just scoop up some kibble from a bag and feed it to the dog, but dogs need variety in their diets just as humans do.”
Duplantier said he believes that his business is the only one of its type in Georgia and one of the few in the United States, but he predicts that will change. “This is a concept most people never heard of just five years ago. Now most people have heard of it. In 10 years it probably will be quite common for people to feed their pets this way,” he said.
The retail store at West College and Meade in the Oakhurst section of Decatur opened the first full week in December after months of planning and paperwork, Duplantier said. He said the process of being licensed by the USDA wasn’t an easy one. “I couldn’t have done it without my legal training,” he noted.
In addition to fresh dog and cat food, the store sells chicken feed—Duplantier raises chickens, too. It also sells freeze dried foods and pet products from national and local distributors, including some dog treats from his Oakhurst neighbor Taj Ma-Hound.
“I live in this neighborhood and had passed this empty building many times. I said to myself, ‘If I ever open a business, I want that spot.’ It’s a great location,” he said of the area near Oakhurst Elementary and Renfroe Middle School that’s a favorite place for those in the neighborhood to walk their dogs.