St. Charles dog lovers sell customizable pet collars

St. Charles dog lovers' new business sells customizable pet collars

  • Cheryl Arts, left, and Carla Schultz have started an online business called Concha Collar, which sells customized leather collars for dogs or cats with attachable charms, similar to Pandora bracelets, but for pets.

    Cheryl Arts, left, and Carla Schultz have started an online business called Concha Collar, which sells customized leather collars for dogs or cats with attachable charms, similar to Pandora bracelets, but for pets. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Cheryl Arts and Carla Schultz have started an online business called Concha Collar, which sells customized leather collars for dogs or cats with attachable charms.

    Cheryl Arts and Carla Schultz have started an online business called Concha Collar, which sells customized leather collars for dogs or cats with attachable charms. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Updated 5/30/2019 2:34 PM

Cheryl Arts may not be the first person who has turned a passion for animals into a business venture, but she might be the first to equate a pet collar with the Pandora charms bracelet so popular with women.

It shows through in her Concha Collar e-commerce business, one that specializes in leather collars for dogs and cats with seven spots to attach or change collectible charms.


Basically, it's all about giving your pet some character -- and letting others know something about that pet.

"Our customers purchase our collars and maybe start with one charm, or others will just fill it up because it looks really nice full of charms," said Arts, a resident of St. Charles who operates the business with partner Carla Schultz.

Concha Collar offers about 80 different charms that say something about the pet -- whether it loves to chase squirrels, acts like a diva, etc. Or the charm may say something about the pet's owners.

A deep love of her previous dogs sent Arts down the path to create the Concha Collar business.

For many years, she had two dogs -- Bogart, a rescue Saint Bernard, and Johnson, a Sheltie Golden Retriever. When those dogs passed, she got another rescue named Stogie, a Corgi and Australian cattle dog mix.

"I was trying to find something to put on Stogie's collar to commemorate the memory of Bogart and Johnson, and I really couldn't find anything out there," Arts said.

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"I started thinking about a customized charm, because most of the things out there were typically for the ring on the collar just to provide information about the dog if it was lost," she added.

She began brainstorming her idea for customized charms with Schultz, and after nearly three years -- and an initial launch in which they discovered the charms on occasion could fall off the collar -- they stabilized the product and put Concha Collar online at for buyers to make their purchases.

"We didn't want just another doggy name, as a Concho is typically a piece of metal that is attached to something leather, and because we are women we just changed it to Concha," Arts said.

"When we set up at pet fairs or events and people see us, 90 percent of them say, 'It's like Pandora for pets,'" she added. "Both women and men understand what that is."


Two Bostons resurfaces:

After a couple of years on State Street in Geneva, a Two Bostons pet store has resurfaced on Randall Road in the city.

This time it is putting up stakes in a revitalized retail strip, next to the Fresh Thyme grocery store.

That strip is anchored on one end by Best Buy and on the other by At Home. Not long ago, it was pretty much empty after Gander Mountain and Dominick's both went under.

The new Two Bostons continues a trend in which we have plenty of pet store options now in the region. It's also located not too far from Petco and PetSmart along Randall, and Bentley's Pet Stuff on Fabyan Parkway in Batavia.

Doughnuts galore:

I really like doughnuts, but they don't like me. They consistently deliver a bellyache I can do without, so they've essentially been taken out of my diet for some 30-plus years now.

That also explains why, when asked if I had any interest in participating in the Salvation Army's doughnut eating contest from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Friday, June 7, at Blue Goose Market in St. Charles, I had to decline.

But this contest, as part of the Salvation Army's National Donut Day, sounds like it would be fun, with contestants from the St. Charles fire and police departments (please, no dumb police-and-doughnut jokes) and the Geneva High School Key Club competing with others.

Contestants raise money for the cause, and awards are given for most doughnuts eaten and for the contestant who raised the most money online and who raises the most money during the event.

Proceeds from the fundraiser go toward supporting the food pantry and distribution programs in the Tri-Cities area and central Kane County.

Capt. Clark leaving us:

Speaking of the Salvation Army Tri-City Corps, it will soon have a new officer in charge.

Capt. Betsy Clark is leaving her Salvation Army post here on Sunday, June 23, with a new officer scheduled to arrive Wednesday, June 26.

In a letter to supporters and Salvation Army board members, Clark made it clear she liked working out of the St. Charles office.

"I would like to say what a blessing it has been to be part of the Tri-Cities community and to work with each of you to further the mission of the Salvation Army …" Clark wrote.

She also mentioned that she hoped her work here "started enough momentum to keep us driving toward the fulfillment" of her vision for the Salvation Army's future influence and growth.

We wish Capt. Clark the best in her next journey, as she was well-liked and highly respected by local organizations that work with Salvation Army in this area.

Daily dose again:

The timing somehow seemed almost, well, spiritual in a sense.

In bantering about my Catholic school days from yesteryear, some friends were relatively stunned when I told them my class went to church every day before school started.

Some expressed the fear they wouldn't have fared well with that kind of setup. And I certainly did not. Basically, it was just another place for me to get into some trouble with the nuns who policed the place as if their mission in life depended on it.

The very next day after that small talk, I received an email from our pastor at St. Peter Church in Geneva saying children attending St. Peter School would again be going to Mass prior to school daily, starting Aug. 21.

By attending church before school, the students would be breaking about a 30-year period in which many Catholic schools had dropped that practice, the note said.

If you think I'm going to bad-mouth this idea, forget it. I'm not that dumb to cast aspersions on something my maker likely thinks is a pretty good idea.

But let me at least say this: I'm glad that note didn't come into a house in which I was still a little kid going to school. It's not that it was a terrible experience, but it was what it was -- a place where little kids had to keep quiet and reverent first thing in the morning. That wasn't me.

For the young Heun lad, it was indeed a difficult experiment, one that didn't have many happy returns for anyone involved. But I survived and the 2019 version of daily Mass comes with some specific goals in mind outlined in the note -- decreased bullying, better behavior, better participation in the Mass, and "significant spiritual growth of faculty and staff members."

If someone had explained that to me more than 55 years ago, it might have had a chance to sink in. Admittedly, that is a big "might."

Instead, it just seemed like the closest door to walk into when the bus dropped us off -- and a place where the nuns could do a head count of sorts and assure we were all ready to march to the school at the same time.

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