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Get ready for a new Leash on Life

Pet supply store adds to North Liberty’s shopping choices
Store owner Julie Phye (left) and store manager Michelle Hickman are now welcoming customers at the new Leash on Life pet supply shop at 650 Pacha Parkway in North Liberty. The shop’s grand opening is this weekend, June 13. (photo by Lori Lindner)

NORTH LIBERTY– It’s appropriate that Julie Phye’s shop is called Leash on Life.
The Iowa City business owner’s life took a whole new direction after she adopted Rosie the Labrador retriever from a shelter in 2002. Adding Rosie to her family ultimately led Phye to leave her job at the University of Iowa to open her own pet supply business.
Because of Rosie, Leash on Life is not just about selling pet products.
“I’ve always been an advocate of rescue,” said Phye. “Rosie had a lot of behavior issues and separation anxiety. She led me to reading a lot about (dog) behavior and nutrition. I decided there was a need in this area for a store that really focused on talking with people about their pets.”
Therefore, in addition to leashes, Phye and Leash on Life employees can help customers find nutritious food, healthy treats and durable toys and tools for helping all pets, even those who need special consideration.
“We spend a lot of time talking to our staff, because we feel it is important to do our due diligence and our part to help create healthy relationships between people and their pets,” said Phye.
Phye’s Iowa City store (on Highway 1 near Paul’s Discount) has been open for nine years. She opened a second Leash on Life store at 650 Pacha Parkway in North Liberty in May.
“We have slowly grown, because we have a loyal customer base through dedicated staff who really do care about our customers and their pets,” said Phye.
Leash on Life store manager Michelle Hickman has been a member of the Iowa City Friends of the Animal Center Foundation’s board of directors since 2006. A long-time pet owner, pet sitter and shelter volunteer, Hickman said she is also invested in the health and well-being of her customers’ pets.
“I think we carry a lot of unique product lines that other cities around don’t have. We had a lot of customers coming from North Liberty, Cedar Rapids and Davenport for things we carry that other pet supplies in the area don’t have,” said Hickman. “It made sense for us to open a location here in the Corridor.”
A grand opening will be held this Saturday, June 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with prize drawings beginning at 1 p.m., as well as pet and people treats. All two-legged and four-legged visitors are welcome.
“Pets are always welcome in the store, as long as they are on a leash,” said Hickman, and they will sometimes be greeted by Phye’s three basset hounds, who spend time at the store as well.
With a focus on health and fun, Leash on Life’s shelves are full of wholesome food and treats– with an emphasis on products made in the U.S.A.– as well as grooming supplies, dental products, behavior modification items, and gifts and toys that provide convenience for pet owners and keep pets stimulated and active in mind and body.
“We are not vets or trainers, and we’re not here to replace them, but people have lots of questions, and we take the time to talk with them,” said Phye.
Phye, Hickman and the Leash on Life staff are excited about opening the locally-owned and operated store, and the opportunity to give back to the North Liberty area by serving as a resource for customers and supporting organizations that promote animal welfare. Throughout the year, Leash on Life will host adoption days for certain rescue groups and special sale days that benefit local shelters, and continue its mission of supporting programs like the Iowa Humane Alliance and Therapy Dogs of Johnson County.
“We try to focus on education and animal issues,” said Phye, “because it benefits everybody: the emotional and physical health of the animal, the person, and the community. The community is enhanced by not having barking dogs or distractive pets. Creating responsible pet owners is just good for the everybody.”

650 Pacha Parkway
Mon.- Fri., 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Website: www.leashonlife.net/new-north-liberty-store
Email: info@leashonlife.net