New health food store for dogs, cats opens in Citrus Heights

Christy DeCelle,
Owners Steve Burk and Christy DeCelle, are two of four partners who opened Ben’s Barketplace in Citrus Heights this month. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Those looking for some healthier food options for their pets can now find a wide selection of raw and specialty foods offered at a new store in Citrus Heights.

Ben’s Barketplace opened on Nov. 16 at 7935 Greenback Ln., next to Sprouts and BevMo in the Citrus Town Center, and carries both frozen and shelf-stable foods from brands like Stella & Chewy’s, Small Batch and Instinct. Owners can also receive free in-store consultations to create customized nutritional plans for pets.

“It’s kind of like going to your Whole Foods, or your Trader Joe’s or Sprouts, versus the other options,” said owner Christy DeCelle, a local entrepreneur and investor who grew up in Citrus Heights and also owns the nearby Beach Hut Deli on Sunrise Boulevard. “We really focus on dogs with allergies or itching — we can cure their problems by nutrition versus taking your dog to the vet, so we’re all about nutrition.”

The store focuses on diet and nutritional approaches to addressing allergies among pets. The products offered generally feature less carbohydrates for a more natural “species appropriate diet,” and¬†none of the foods have corn or wheat ingredients. DeCelle said her own dog had been cured of allergy problems through diet and nutritional changes, an experience also shared by Ben’s Barketplace founders Brad and Sally Romero.

The new pet food store in Citrus Heights is the first franchise location of Ben’s, which first opened in 2005 in Lincoln and later opened another store in Roseville. The location features a clean, modern interior with a 4,000-square-foot floor plan, formerly occupied by Carter’s baby store. A self-serve dog wash station is also located in the rear, with free washes offered through the end of the year as a grand opening special.

DeCelle, 39, is one of four partners who own the new franchise. She said the group has plans to expand to several more locations in the Sacramento region in the near future.

“In Citrus Heights there’s nothing else like this,” she told The Sentinel in an interview at the store on Wednesday. “This is a huge exploding industry right now and I want to be part of it.”

Hours of operation are currently 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m .to 7 p.m. on weekends. Free delivery within a five-mile radius of the store is also offered on orders over $50.