VILLAGE PET SUPPLIES & GIFTS
Welcome to GEM104.com’s new feature called GEM Small Business Spotlight, where we will talk with successful small businesses from around the area. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Brenda Bartlett, owner of Village Pet Supplies & Gifts. Brenda had the good fortune to being born into a family of pet lovers and has been surrounded by pets her whole life and truly believes life would be empty without them. 14 years ago, while walking her dog each day through Nanticoke, it occurred to Brenda that there were a lot of pet loving people in town and yet there wasn’t a local pet supply store. Brenda started researching demographics to see if the area would benefit from a pet supply store and attended seminars given by the Small Business Association. With an eye on an empty store front in Hanover Twp. on the Sans Souci Parkway, she decided to make this the home of Village Pet Supplies & Gifts. Brenda opened on a shoestring budget using credit cards and getting as much display shelving as possible through the food
manufactures. By 2011, Brenda’s business had grown quickly and steadily for 8 years, Until Hurricane Irene hit and her business was lost to the flood waters in a matter of hours. She loaded as much of the store’s product into a tractor trailer that her landlord was kind enough to loan her. So Brenda had a truck with some product but no way to get her specialty foods to her customers. She felt she absolutely could not fail her customers and their pets. They had been loyal to her, now it was her turn to be loyal to them. One of her biggest distributors, Natural Animal Nutrition, rented her a Penske truck to park in the store lot after the flood mud was cleared away. She did not have everything her customers wanted but did have their pet foods and some treats. Her customers were grateful she was there and Brenda was grateful that they came. While sitting in her car in the mud-covered parking lot a couple of days after the flood, watching two men in hazmat suits start the demolition, the landlord asked her if she wanted him to take down the wall that would double her store size. Brenda thought she must be crazy when she heard herself say “yes”. Having no idea how long it would take until she could reopen and whether she would be able to regain her pre-flood level of success, this turned out to be the right decision. They were out of the building for 3 ½ months and started moving back in the Friday before Thanksgiving. Determined not to let her customers down Brenda refused to close during the rebuild. Brenda stuck the cash register on a folding table and helped people find what they needed in boxes and
on pallets. Now, after not only surviving the flood, Village Pet Supplies and Gifts continues to grow and Brenda would not want to do
anything differently. Her customers are people who truly make their pets members of the family – “Fur kids.” There are customers who understand the value of purchasing high quality foods for themselves and understand “we are what we eat” so they seek out the safest, highest quality foods for their fur kids. There are also customers who don’t fully understand how to select a pet food, so when their pet develops a health issue such as itching, hair loss, diabetes and other issues they come to Village Pet Supplies & Gifts so they can help. They are knowledgeable, informed and happy to answer questions. While other stores can tell you what aisle an item is in, they can help you pick out the right item or food based on exactly what is going on with your pet. I was impressed with not only the variety of items and foods at Village Pet Supplies & Gifts, but also with the knowledge and passion Brenda and her staff have for our “fur kids”.
Visit Them On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/villagepetsupplies