The Buddy Loft
Amy Traylor, Owner
711 Jefferson Hwy. #5
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Favorite Quote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Emerson
The Buddy Loft, open since November 2013, is a specialty store that caters to the needs of “pets and their people.” Owner Amy Traylor named the store after her basset hound Buddy to honor his memory and to help people connect with and care for their animal friends.
Traylor adopted Buddy in the summer of 2011 and cared for him until he passed away from cancer a year and a half later. He was a friendly dog who loved to jump, twirl, and cuddle. Buddy spent a lot if time at the Cane’s Dog Park on Burbank often stopping for anyone who took time to give him attention. Even though Buddy is no longer with us, his spirit is alive at the Buddy Loft.
The Buddy Loft is not your typical pet store. The store’s inventory is eclectic, always changing as Amy finds new vendors and items. The shelves are stocked with many locally made items and if an item cannot be found locally, special orders are accepted. The store offers organic treats for pets, toys for children and dogs, and t-shirts and jewelry with animal themes for adults. The Buddy Loft also carries blankets and throws, pillows, towels, mugs, Christmas ornaments, and other home decorations that showcase the love of animals.
Amy and her family moved from Houston to Lecompte, Louisiana (near Alexandria), when she was seven to help with a family restaurant, Lea’s. Opened by Amy’s grandfather in 1928, Lea’s is well known for its southern comfort, down-home cooking. Amy’s grandparents ran the restaurant – they cooked, served, cleaned and did anything else that needed to be done. The plan was for the family to stay a year and help the family through a crisis but they never left. Both of Amy’s brothers are still in the restaurant business.
As a child, Amy always wanted to own her own business. She liked to play shopkeeper when she was young; she even had her own toy cash register. Amy’s work career began in the hospitality business and while working for someone else, her “entrepreneur voice” was screaming to get out.
Before she opened the Buddy Loft, Amy did a lot of market research on pet stores, pet products and people, pets, and toys. Although there are a lot of websites on how to set up a small business, she relied mostly on books for research. Amy studied business plans and books on running a business and how to make it work. She also found books on how to lay out the shop to its best advantage. Amy visited several grooming stores, pet stores, and “big box” stores with pet sections in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. She studied what they offered and discovered that there wasn’t a store in the area exclusively catering to pets and their owners. It was then that Amy decided to open The Buddy Loft.
Being raised in a small business atmosphere gave Amy a first-hand look at their role in the community. She believes that small businesses are the backbone of the community and it is vital for the city to support them. Amy sees the community as an extended family that cares about each other. Since moving to Baton Rouge in 2002, Amy considers this her home and couldn’t imagine opening her business anywhere else.
Art is very important to Amy including her hobby of photography which allows her to look at the world through a camera lens and see things she did not realize were there. Amy is supportive of all arts (music, visual, literature). She owns a painting of Buddy done by Simon Baxter, a local artist who specializes in pet portraits. The Buddy Loft also carries art work by local artists.
As a child, Amy remembers growing up with her mother reading to her and spending summers at the library. To share her love of reading, Amy started a “little free library” in her neighborhood and encourages others to do so.