By Jim Kinney | firstname.lastname@example.org
He was in his office, on the phone with a customer from Northampton who hadn't been able to find a particular item during repeated trips to his store. The next step, Ratner said, was to get on the phone with the manager, find out what was going on and get the item delivered to the customer's house.
"I want people to be waited on," Ratner said. "I insist that bags be taken out to people's cars."
Ratner, 63, started out in June 1975 selling soda from a former gas station on Route 9 in Hadley. In a story he loves to tell, he felt he needed a dog to help him meet women, so he got a beagle, and Bentley the bagle needed food. Ratner saw that there were only a few companies in the business and there was a demand.
"So I went back to my office, which was a phone in a bathroom, and got on the phone with 9 Lives and Purina," he said.
The business grew. He added high-end brands like Iams and Eukanuba when they came out, added locations and n