Ghiziana Iosif-Arndt knows a lot
about building the brick and mortar part of a business, but
she's also had to learn about building a niche in the gift
Iosif-Arndt owns One of a Kind
Friend, a store for pet lovers, in Overland Park. “We are
not a pet store,” Iosif-Arndt said. “But we primarily carry gear
for cat and dog lovers to decorate their homes.”
One of a Kind Friend carries decor
such as wall hangings, pillows, statues, mugs and jewelry, all
with a cat or dog theme. It carries a limited selection of pet
accessories, such as custom-made sterling silver collars.
Iosif-Arndt came to Kansas City with
her parents from Romania in 1967. She graduated from Westport
High School and earned a degree in architectural design from
MIT in Boston.
After she and her husband, Richard
Arndt, got a puppy more than 20 years ago, she learned she had a
gift with animals. After next getting a rottweiler and a
dachshund, they founded the Rottweiler Rescue and Dachshund
Rescue in the Kansas City area. Although they no longer operate
the Rottweiler Rescue, Iosif-Arndt still trains dogs and works
with pet owners on behavior modification. They still manage the
Ten years ago, Iosif-Arndt took a
job as a retail cashier. She said she liked the flexibility and
working with customers, so she started looking for a retail
niche she could fill with a business of her own.
Iosif-Arndt knew firsthand of pet
owners' desire to find gifts that represented their dogs' breeds
and started making and buying items to sell at dog shows. Three
years ago, she opened her shop.
“My husband got tired of walking
sideways through the house through all the stuff,” Iosif-Arndt
She said one of the most challenging
things about retail is knowing what her customers want.
“I buy things for the shop that
excite me. The reward is when the customers come in and are
amazed by what they find,” Iosif-Arndt said. “When people tell
me they have seen something someplace else or have found it on
the Internet, I stop carrying it.”
Iosif-Arndt also tries to find
representations of hard-to-find breeds as well as popular
breeds, which she said right now is the Wheaten Terrier. Items
at the shop range from the affordable to up to $200 for a
made-to-order wood-burned image of an owner's dog or cat.
Glenda Burns, executive director for
the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, said it is
Iosif-Arndt's knowledge of animals that makes her shop unique.
“Ghizi has a good representation of
many animals that reflect their personalities, and that
connection fills the needs of the animal owners,” Burns said.
Iosif-Arndt also offers services for
pets, such as nail trimming at no charge, and she has promotions
such as pet photos with Santa and the Easter Bunny, which
benefit animal shelters and rescues in the area. The shop
recently took pet photos with Santa, with proceeds going to the
Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.
One of a Kind Friend
7210 W. 79th St.
(913) 649-8063 or (816) 726-8087