If you have a dog or cat, you must meet Sophie Phillips, owner of Hyde Park’s Sprocket & Stone, a boutique specializing in natural pet foods, healthy treats, and unique accessories and toys. She loves her customers — both the people and the animals — and is an indispensable resource for new pet owners, able to match them up with just the right vet, trainer, or special food for any dietary needs.
Growing up in Brussels, Belgium, with a sister who always seemed to be bringing home injured birds or squirrels to nurse, animals were always an important part of Sophie’s life. Through the years she’s had cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and even a horse. She moved to New York in 2001, met her husband (from Chicago’s South Side), and together they moved to Hyde Park from Brooklyn nearly 15 years ago. They wanted to live in a diverse neighborhood that still had the feel of a small town, and Hyde Park has been their home ever since.
The store is named for Sophie’s two dogs, Sprocket & Stone, both rescue Pit Bull mixes, but with three cats at home, she’s a cat person, too. Sophie always has a foster cat in the store from the local organization, Hyde Park Cats, and this month Sumo is the Sprocket & Stone cat-in-residence – charming all the customers while scouting for his forever home. “Customers will sometimes come in and say hello, pet the resident cat for a while, and it calms them down if they’ve had a stressful day,” Sophie commented.
Prior to opening the store, Sophie was in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and also ran Premier Pet Concierge, offering dog walking and cat sitting services to clients on the South Side. She’s passionate about keeping animals healthy and happy, and has become more of a “pet consultant” than just a retail store owner.
“I’ve seen a lot of people get a dog or a cat, not really know where to turn for information, and I’m able to give them advice for local vets or trainers. If a pet has anxiety, digestive problems, or skin issues, I have food and supplements to address those issues,” said Sophie.
She carefully researches every product she sells, and carries pet food from brands such as Primal Pet Foods Inc.; Orijen; Acana; Fromm Family Pet Food; Stella & Chewy’s; smallbatch; Steve’s Real Food; Northwest Naturals; Weruva; Dave’s Pet Food; and Koha Super Premium Pet Food; as well as Treatibles phytocannabinoid infused products for anxiety, arthritis, seizures, and pain management.
After nearly three years in business, the store has become a true neighborhood destination. Customers love the personal attention Sophie offers – she’ll do special orders, offers free home deliveries with $25 purchase, and pets always get a treat. She somehow manages to remember the names of all of her customers and their pets, and at the holidays people drop off cards, home-made jam, and cookies – something that really surprised one of her employees who had previously worked at another pet store.
Sprocket & Stone participates in Downtown Hyde Park’s “First Thursday” events from May through November, and with discounts, refreshments for people and pets (like Chicago-made Arrfscarf dog ice cream), and valuable goodie bags, it has become the Hyde Park pet parent hang out spot. “People get to know each other and make it their once a month date to hang out with their dogs,” Sophie says. “Whether you spend $5 or $50, you’ll get wonderful service and have a great time.”
1013 E. 53rd Street