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Send a Text Back in Time to Yourself on Opening Day of Your Pet Business. What Does It Say?

Members of the PETS+ Brain Squad share what message they would text to themselves on day one of their business — if time travel existed, that is.




We recently prompted members of the PETS+ Brain Squad with, “Send a text back in time to yourself on your first day in business. What does it say?” The answers are a mix of heartfelt and funny and practical. Give them a read, then add your own in the comments!

  • Psst… there’s a pandemic and a labor shortage coming, just FYI so be prepared. — Jennifer Guevin, Holistic for Pets, Bradenton, FL
  • Invest in training! Invest in staff! Keep cash reserves! Hire to your weaknesses early! — Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL
  • Hey girl, I want to let you know your life is going to change significantly in the next 10 years. Your personal life will be changing, and you are going to be OK. Also, you are going to have to survive a global pandemic. Yeah, I know it’s scary. I am letting you know that you should trust your instincts because they are usually correct. You are going to build the business in ways you never imagined and do things you didn’t think you were capable of. Ask for what you want, tell people why you are awesome and don’t cry when you get mad. 🙂 — Jennifer Thomas, Lucky Dog Pet Grocery & Bakery, Lawrence, KS
  • You don’t need multiple locations to be successful. In fact, you’ll be happier if you focus on one. Make it beautiful, make it purposeful, and build it with a team of people you love sharing your time and passion with. — Sheila Spitza, Wet Nose, Geneva, IL
  • Google Candace D’Agnolo and River Lee every week until they pop up. — Cynthia McKinney, Loyl’s Natural Pet Grocery, Houston, TX
  • Buy Bitcoin. Buy Apple stock. Buy Chewy stock. Buy Tesla Stock. — Paul Lewis, The Green K9, Mount Dora, FL
  • Keep an open mind and make sure your actions align with your beliefs. — Deana Deitchler, Dogs Paw, Park Rapids, MN
  • Set boundaries with your time! This job should not be given all your energy and creative juices! — Steph Cox, Central Animal Inn, Herrin, IL
  • Was this really a good idea? — Laurie McClearen, Cohutta Country Store, Blue Ridge, GA
  • All your hard work, long hours, sticking to what your heart tells you to do, and not backing down pays off. Never let anyone tell you what you are doing won’t work. All that happiness you wished for all your life… well, you got it all and then some. — Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • Dear Heather, You may not have a clue what you’re in for with this new adventure, but sit back and enjoy! — Heather Persinger, Aristopets, Lewisville, NC
  • Start closing the store in subtle ways (cleaning, organizing, counting cash) during the last hour of being open so you can get out of there faster each night! And mistakes happen. There will be many more to come so just move on. — Julie Johannes, Happy Hounds Pet Supply, Bigfork, MT
  • Yeah, I know you think 500 square feet is a lot of room to fill up, but trust me, soon you will wish you had four times that amount of space! — Pamela Campbell, Bonediggity Barkery & Gifts, Gatlinburg, TN
  • Get an accountant. It’s gonna be big! — Rebecca Martino, Stately Pet Supply, Clarks Summit, PA
  • It gets a lot better, but it’s always hard work to keep your best foot forward. Stay at it!  It’s worth it! — Comora Tolliver, Barkers Anonymous, Hendersonville, NC
  • Don’t forget to love and care for yourself. —  Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Turn around and run. It will not be worth all the stress, anxiety and headaches… run now! — Robin Jerdee, Beast Buffet, Monroe, WI
  • Set a purchasing budget and stick to it! (I still don’t have one three years later LOL.) — Jennifer Marshall, Northwoods Pets, Rhinelander, WI 
  • You must be out of your mind, but this is America — go for it! — Liz Harris, Creatures Featured, Madison, FL
  • As soon as you figure out what sells the best and stock your shelves accordingly, customers’ minds will be changed overnight. You can thank social media for that. — Laura Backus, Purrrfect Bark, Columbus, NC
  • It all takes time to learn how to fly. —  Chris Mitchell, Crown Hill Pet Supply, Seattle, WA
  • Just be you. — Errin Jolley, Purrz and Paws, St. Helens, OR
  • Get better employees ASAP, and announce that the biz is under new ownership! — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • You will be astonished at how much your business will change and grow in the next three years! You got this! — Elaina Stanley, Three Happy Hounds, Fernley, NV
  • Don’t forget to stock up on “emergency margaritas” in the freezer because you are gonna need them more than you think. — Melisa Wynn, Paws & Fins Pet Shop, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • This is going to be challenging at times… deep breath… you got this! Your goal is NO ZERO DAYS! (Haven’t had one yet!!!!) — Cherie Iannuzzi, Percy Paws, North Conway, NH
  • Some days (and months!), the road will be bumpy, and sometimes you will question why you opened the store at all, but it will be worth it. — Amy Schiek, Lucky Dogs, Skaneateles, NY  
  • Get your gear on and strap in. It’s gonna be a wild ride! But, you are going to love (almost) every minute of it! — Darrel Day, Dog Gone Holistic, Lithia, FL
  • You will sell your soul and have to be nice to everyone who walks through your door. — Paul Lewis, Birds Unlimited, Webster, NY
  • You’ll make many mistakes, but keep believing in yourself and stick to your core values! — Danny Offenbacher, City of Paws Petcare, Philadelphia, PA
  • You are doing the right thing. Stick to what you believe in! — Dani Cunningham, Lewis & Bark’s Outpost, Red Lodge, MT
  • Welcome to the jungle, and it has nothing to do with the animals. — Dorothy Stewart, Dorothy’s Pet Shop, Junction City, KS 
  • Go with your gut!! — Karen Conell, The Bark Market, Delavan, WI
  • Never, ever give up. — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails Pet Resort, Wolcott, CT
  • You got this! — Dorothy Vetrovec, Nature’s Feed, Spring Grove, IL
  • Breathe. You can do this. You are the only one who notices things are missing. In a few months, you’ll laugh at what you think was the worst thing that could happen. — Penny Murano, Unleashed, New London, NH
  • Though being at the biz to interact with customers is great, purposely schedule yourself to work in the store at least two shifts each week. You’re there already, and this will save you money in the long run. Create staff training videos NOW. — Marcia Cram, Just Fur Pets, Springfield, VA
  • What were you thinking?!? — Janice Anderson, Anderson Acres, Bakersfield, CA
  • You got this! Don’t forget to eat lunch! — Shelly Nicastro, Essex Bird & Pet Supply, Essex, MA
  • Don’t get in over your head with debt thinking you’ll pay it off later. — Janelle Pitula, Wags to Whiskers, Plainfield, IL
  • You’ll never work as hard as you’re about to, nor will you ever have as much pride/satisfaction with what you’re about to create. Enjoy the ride and hang on! — Kaye Busse-Kleber, Bark On Mulford, Rockford, IL
  • There will be ups and there will be downs, but keep riding the wave… it will be worth it. — Jenny DuBrock, Don’t 4 Get About Me, Pingree Grove, IL
  • Hang in there! The people and pets who need you will find you, and you will be helping to make the pets healthier. — Beth Kidd, Dogs by Design, Irwin, PA
  • You are doing what you love, good things will come from this, and the outcome of your efforts will be bigger than you ever imagined. Stay the course! — Johnna Devereaux, Fetch RI, Richmon, RI
  • Texting back in time to my first day on the job 10 years ago… Yes, it really is this good. You get to spend every day helping people and pets and coworkers; you’ve found a career path in an industry where your passions and talents are recognized and useful. Welcome to the world of indie pet! — Stephanie Wright, Bend Pet Express, Bend, OR
  • Who would have ever thought. — Alexis Butler, The Dog’s Meow, Salt Lake City, UT
  • You’re going to kick ass! Stand your ground and be confident in yourself. —  Paige Elder, Buzz n’ B’s Pet Shop, Erie, PA
  • Buy three big freezers for raw. — Brett Foreman, Eupawria, Owego, NY
  • Do not put anything on a credit card. If you can’t afford it right now, you can’t afford it. — Rhonda Olson, Rhonda’s Aviary, Milton, FL
  • OMG, who would have thought that your little dog treats could have changed your life. — Erika Siegel, My Best Friend’s Barkery, Banner Elk, NC
  • It’s going to be a WILD ride! Put your seatbelt on and hang on cuz it won’t slow down for years! (well except for a month due to a pandemic maybe. Don’t ask!) Have FUN!!! — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • This isn’t going to be easy, but you’re going to learn a lot. Be patient, and remember to have fun. It may take a while to reap the rewards of being a business owner, but in the end, there won’t be anything else you can imagine yourself doing. —  Natalie Bosch, Albany Pet Hotel, Albany, OR
  • DO NOT HAVE A PARTNER! — Gloria VonZech, The Principled Pet, Collingswood, NJ
  • If you’re going through hell, keep going. — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • You got this! It is not going to be easy, you are going to doubt yourself, you are going to cry when no one is looking, A LOT.  I promise it is worth it and you will touch so many animals and people’s lives. You can’t please everyone, but the ones you please will keep you going and growing stronger. Trust God, and the rest is in the details. — Jessica Cooke, Yuppy Puppy, O’Fallon, MO
  • You will still love it 14 years later. Hardest job you’ve ever had, but most rewarding. Learn to work smarter sooner than later. Hire a manager with experience because it will be a game changer. Take vacation whenever you can. Don’t get caught up in living to work. — Jennie Dudley, Hairy Winston, Mount Pleasant, SC
  • You did it! Now it’s time for a nap. — Jodi Etienne, Razzle Dazzle, Doggie Bow-tique, Bradley, IL
  • Don’t over buy. Keep cash flow and a good cushion on your credit cards. — Jennifer Flanagan, Nature’s Pet Market Sherwood, Sherwood, OR
  • You got this. It will not be easy, but you will figure it out and find wonderful people along the way to help you move forward. — Victoria Park, Park Pet Supply, Atlanta, GA
  • Your dream will come true, just trust your heart!!! — Christine McCoy, The Natural Pet Enrichment Center, North Royalton, OH
  • Things will be difficult and hard at times, but Don’t Ever, Ever Ring The Bell! — Diane Marcin, Benny’s Pet Depot, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Buckle up, Buttercup, it’s going to be a wild ride! — Jennifer Baker, Grateful Dog Bakery,  North Ridgeville, OH
  • Write down the positive moments because you’ll need the reminders! — Cassie Nilsson, The Mill Stores, Whiteford, MD
  • Thank you. — Richie Powell, All American Pet, Springfield, OR 
  • You’re finally doing what you love, but there’s no money in it! — Ron Keller, Captivating Canines, Westerville, OH
  • It would be returned because texting didn’t exist in 1989. — Barbara Clemmens,  Aardvark Pet Supplies, Inc., Thornwood, NY
  • Master product knowledge and industry news. Never stop cleaning. — Shawn Kombogiannis, Pet Wants, Lakeway, TX
  • Hahahaha. You’re INSANE! — Diana Farrar, Fifi & Fidos Pet Boutique, San Antonio, TX
  • Stay true to your mission. Work your plan. Your people will find you. It’s going to be the absolute hardest thing you’ve ever done (and you’ve been through a LOT), but you will be successful. Happiness will follow. — Janet CesariniPupology, Georgetown, TX
  • Don’t listen to others, just trust your gut and you’ll succeed. — Maria Cetrola, Buddy’s Pet Stop, Barnegat, NJ
  • So much for your “hobby!” Turned into a wildly successful venture. — Denise Strong, Pawz On Main, Cottonwood, AZ
  • Try not to worry so much. — Jack Carey, Food for Pets, Manchester, NH
  • Don’t worry about what the “nay-sayers” say about this business not going to thrive, because you are going to do great! WE are now heading for our ninth year in business!!! — April Meier, Pawsitively Scrumptious LLC, Crestview, FL
  • You are going to suc(k) at first, but keep learning and growing and you’ll rock this! — Lisa Kirschner, Sit, Stay, ‘N Play, Inc., Stroudsburg, PA
  • Listen to your CPA. Hire a good social media manager. Fire the psycho groomer and shut that !@#% down. — Pamela Modica, Lazy Creek Pet Food Center, Lexington, SC
  • It’s not all going to be roses and unicorns. — Karen Grenda, Humane Indiana, Munster, IN
  • Well it’s only 60ish days ago, so remember the passion! That’s what gets you through. The next 30 will probably be rough, but you LOVE this. — Cindy Samartino, Wiggle Butt & Whiskers, Leesburg, VA
  • Make time for self care! — Jennifer Frankavitz, Four Leggers Pet Supplies & Services, Beverly, MA
  • There are going to be weeks and months when you don’t think you’ll make it, but stick with it because it’s going to get really good! — Tiffany Manson, Dallas Professional Pet Care, Dallas, TX
  • Buy small quantities and have a big selection. If something sells well you can always buy more. — Susan Nagel-Rees, Winky’s Pet Boutique, Chester, NJ
  • Don’t forget your store keys! —Michele Saharic, Barkley’s Marketplace, Flemington, NJ
  • Great biz name — keep it. Pay for a better logo from the start. Don’t soften your policies for anyone! — Amber Van Denzen Suarez, Atta Boy! Animal Care Pet Sitting + Dog Walking, Mulberry, FL
  • To be brave is to be scared, and to do the thing anyway. You got this, lady!!! — Ashley Martin, All My Pet Services, Austin, TX
  • It’s going to be fabulous, but buckle up because it’s a ROLLER COASTER. — Heather Leonard, The Well Balanced Paw, Staunton, VA
  • Today is only the beginning. Hang on tight because there are going to be so many unexpected twists and turns ahead. But with the help of your tribe, you will be able to navigate successfully so have no fear. — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC
  • It’s okay to be scared, but do it anyway!! — Debbie Lange, Benson’s Canine Cookies, Lakeland, FL
  • No regrets. You’re living your dream! — Margo Tortorelis, My Natural Pet, Brooklyn, NY
  • Hang in there; it will get better! — Theresa Moreno, For Healthy Pets, Montgomery, AL
  • Do more research and make more connections to learn early on, and definitely learn the point of sale better before getting started, haha. — Tasha Hermanson, Woofta, LLC, Dickinson, ND
  • Always think of the bigger picture. Don’t sweat the little stuff, other stores will come and go, and you will continue to do well and succeed when others will not. — April Wright, The Dog and Cat, Essex Jct and Stowe, VT
  • Think of all the animals you can help. — Cindy McConnell , A Natural Pet Pantry, Osprey, FL
  • Have a great day! — William Stewart, I Will Walk Boston, Boston, MA
  • Plan for further than five years! — Annabell Bivens, The Dog Store, Alexandria, VA
  • You’ve got this. You’re selling a service, time to play show and tell. — Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT
  • Buckle up. — Christina Cummings, The Wild Pet LLC, Charleston, SC
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! — Jennifer Hall, All Things Pawssible, Charlottesville, VA
  • Always remember that at the end of the day, this is pet food and supplies. Of course you want to do your best and make a living… but it’s just pet food and supplies. If nobody is bleeding or dying, it’s not that serious. — Janet Huffor, Furry Friends Inc., Colorado Springs, CO
  • You’ve got this, and remember to save a little for yourself. — Jeff Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St. Louis, MO
  • It gets better. — Kristina Robertson, The Pet Spa at Barkley Square, Falls Church, VA
  • #somuchformytrophywifelife — Pattie Zeller, Animal Connection, Charlottesville, VA
  • You got this. Follow your dreams, you are going to make a difference for the animals. — Ruth Sturgis, Dog Daze, North Syracuse, NY
  • Get a larger variety of merchandise!! — Jennifer Silverberg, Fetch Pet Supplies & Gifts, Springfield, MO
  • Pace yourself! — Joanna Shaw, All Pet & Equine Supply, Mountain Home, AR 
  • You will succeed. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • It’s not going to be easy! You’ll want to give up! Sell! Walk away! But don’t, you got this! — Julie Sterling, Julz Animal Houz, Marysville, WA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free T-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.



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