For Jen and Kristi Maxwell, 2020 was the year they began “living the dream”.

The couple who got married in 2008 (when Kristi took Jens last name) had the same vision: to open a neighborhood-focused business that would add value to the community. The special idea to start a pet shop was Jen Maxwells, who learned about pet health and nutrition while working at Pet Food Express.

In late November, they opened the doors to Maxwell’s Pet Bar at 1734 Church (between 28th and 29th St.), a store previously occupied by a dog groomer, the VIP Scrub Club, which closed last year, and a lesbian couple, Say, belonged to Cotton and Lancy Woo. (The Maxwells said they don’t identify as lesbian or queer because they “don’t like labels”.)

Maxwell’s offers more than a dozen brands of fresh all-natural pet foods and supplements, including the trending CBD, which is becoming increasingly popular for fighting anxiety in dogs and cats. There are also five oversized orange bathtubs available for washing yourself. Most days, Hazel, the couple’s 3-year-old rescue terrier, is in business.

On the day I visited in early January, I asked the women to put together a selection of their favorite foods for my cocker spaniel. When I told them I usually serve Trader Joe’s dog food, they grimaced – the same reaction I’ve received from a number of veterinarians who seem to agree that whole natural foods are of higher quality than the ones in them most of the grocery stores sold nibbles.

The women suggested a handful of products, including a 2.2-pound bag of “gently air-dried” New Zealand free range chicken, which my dog ​​inhaled at record speed. I also liked the product: the smell, the look, the packaging, and the fact that the food was 96% chicken, organs and New Zealand green clams. I also brought home a container of frozen winter squash and a roll of raw duck that my spaniel had eaten with gusto.

But I had a case of sticker shock when I saw the $ 46 price tag on the 2.2 pound bag of chicken. While it’s true that fresh foods usually go further than nibbles, I generally pay $ 25 for a 20 pound bag of nibbles. It was like switching from a Volkswagen to a Tesla.

“Our furry friends deserve to eat as well as we do,” said Jen Maxwell. “Grocery kibble contains renders, carbohydrates, and fillers. Whole foods are the way to go.”

The women both firmly believe in the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) for use in dogs and cats. (CBD, which is not psychoactive, is one of at least 85 active ingredients in cannabis plants and has quickly gained popularity among the wellness crowd.)

Both women are often viewed as beneficial to overall health and wellbeing, and have seen for themselves how useful CBD can be for anxiety. According to Jen Maxwell, ongoing studies of CBD promise scientific data on the compound’s usefulness in humans and animals.

Kristi Maxwell, who has been in the hair industry for nearly three decades, owns a San Bruno store that has closed because of the pandemic.

She is optimistic that the new business will be successful. When I visited the store it had only been open for nine weeks, but the business was already growing gradually.

“We’re doing better than expected,” said Kristi Maxwell. “We feel very well received.”

More information can be found at

SF pharmacy approved
In other local cannabis news, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved a 5,000-square-foot pharmacy and consumption lounge on 560 Valencia Street between 16th and 17th streets that used to house Blu-Dot Furniture.

The new company, dubbed Project 560 according to an article on Mission Local, is slated to begin construction in June and open in early 2022. It will have a usage area of ​​835 square feet depending on the company’s application.

Project sponsor William Dolan, a real estate attorney, said in the application that he had received 212 letters of support from the community, including the Mission Merchants Association and the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association.

And at Castro, the Flore Store at 258 Noe Street between Market Street and Beaver Street has announced its opening on April 20th, the unofficial national cannabis day.

Co-owner Terrance Alan, who bought the company in 2018 but faced numerous delays, announced this in a prepared statement. Gay Alan has a long history in the cannabis industry and has chaired the San Francisco Cannabis State Legislation Task Force, which advised the city on regulating the industry under State Proposition 64.

And in news of a planned cannabis dispensary not to open, cannabis magazine High Times announced it would open a dispensary on Geary Boulevard and 20th Avenue, one of two the soaring company was planning to open in San Francisco . However, when the High Times failed to go public, the company announced that it would not enter the San Francisco market at that time.

Bay Area Cannasseur runs every other month on the first Thursday. To send ideas or tips on columns, send an email to Sari Staver at

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