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Inbox: Letters From Our Readers for April 2018

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Light at the End of a Tunnel

I absolutely love your magazine! It literally was a light at the end of a tunnel. We started this business as a small groom shop with two owner/employees. Within one month, we were booked two months out. Our clients were constantly asking for help with so many skin/coat/health issues we noticed during grooms. So we researched and brought in healthy natural pet foods and supplements. Eight years later, we now have four groomers (and still have a two-month wait list). We grew so fast, it took us by surprise, and we haven’t had a chance to catch up and enjoy what we are doing. Nat and I, the owners, slowed our grooming to only our favorite people and now run the retail section of our shop. This is a learning experience. Your magazine gives me hope, ideas and inspiration each time I open it. I love to talk to and hear from like-minded people. —  Melissa Ripple, Paws & Effect, Eustis, FL

Friendships

The pet business is a rewarding industry as 99 percent of your customers are coming in looking for a friend. We often find that they come looking for an animal friend and leave with that and our friendship!—   Sal Salafia, Exotic Pet Birds, Rochester, NY

Worth It

We’re the only indy pet supply store in a town of about 150,000 people with two Pet Supermarkets, one PetSmart and one Petco. We’ve lost business to e-tail, but who hasn’t? We offer carryout, delivery, affordable pet shots every two weeks, special event fundraisers, and are open seven days a week. Two of us run the store, bringing our dogs every day. What makes it all worth it: We stop doing everything when the dogs start playing together. What’s better than that? —  Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL

Saving Indies

My stores were flat the beginning half of 2017 due to Chewy. I was seriously thinking it was time to sell and move on, and then Tuffy’s, Fromm and Champion pulled out of Chewy and I saw an immediate increase in business. I am extremely grateful to these three companies for making this difficult business decision! I hope they realize how many independents they saved across the country. —  Toni Shelaske, Healthy Pet Products, Pittsburgh, PA

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