It may be a Wag Nation, but there’s no mistaking you’re in the Ocean State when you enter this newly expanded Bellevue Plaza pet store. On grand opening day, pups bounded through an arch of pink and blue balloons to be greeted by twice as many yummy, squeaky, and healthy goodies, all set around a custom-built “fish shack” complete with rope netting, wooden boat shelving, and a Newport Bridge photo backdrop, not to mention light fixtures made out of full-sized surfboards.
“We were going for bright and coastal to reflect Newport’s maritime culture and the fact that we’re half a mile from the beach!” explains Tallia Luvera who owns and runs the store with her mother Alda Fernandes.
Fernandes has a savvy corporate business background while Luvera is a Salve Regina art graduate bringing the design flair and retail experience – she actually worked at Wag Nation’s former location on William Street as a student, back when it was more of a boutique setting. Now spanning over 4,000 square feet, the store offers a spacious, uplifting experience, from the colorful treat wall to the array of smile-inducing plush toys, including bait buckets and classic New England lobsters.
There’s even a whole section dedicated to pet birthdays. Hand-made dog cookies boast fetching icing, with one featuring the distinctive Wag Nation logo, inspired by the family’s beloved Boston Terrier Zoe. This image is repeated in the Instagram corner of the store, where “Wag Local, Shop Local” is spelled out in blue neon.
And those words ring true – Luvera is excited to stock Bona-Fido beef, chicken, and pork jerky from Scituate, as well as Buppy Pets’ four-ingredient treats, including yummy new Strawberry Shortcake, “made with love” at Hope & Main in Warren.
"Nutrition is top of our list, and one of the main reasons we wanted to expand is to offer even more great feeding options,” says Luvera. “We have doubled our freezer space to offer gently cooked and raw food options for a range of budgets and are looking forward to hosting monthly educational seminars on pet nutrition.”
Luvera pauses to greet an eager Pekingese on a leash, whose owner is a regular. “We’re all about community,” she says. “We treat animals like the family members they are, and we want our customers to feel like they’re part of the family too!”
Wag Nation • 181 Bellevue Avenue, Newport • 401-619-3719
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