The pet shop busi­ness is a great way to share your an­i­mal pas­sion with like minds. Over time, your en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and prod­uct knowl­edge will es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers con­cerned about the wel­fare of their pets.

Alexis Mur­phy, age 38, Co-owner, Long Live Cats and Dogs

We be­gan this busi­ness to help pets, ed­u­cate con­sumers, and al­low peo­ple to make in­formed de­ci­sions when it comes to their pet’s health and longevity. Long Live Cats and Dogs got started eight years ago. I had to take the bus in the pour­ing rain to buy cat lit­ter so my friend (and now part­ner) Kristy Clark of­fered to drive me—there wasn’t a pet store nearby. We de­cided right then and there to open a store and four months later we did just that.

We found a lo­ca­tion and Googled ‘how to open a pet food store.’ It was ex­cit­ing and com­pletely dif­fer­ent from our reg­u­lar jobs. Kristy is a so­cial worker and I’m a ra­di­ol­o­gist tech­ni­cian. We kept our jobs be­cause it took the store four years to make money and pay our­selves. We con­sid­ered the store more like a hobby but never as a wrong choice.

We moved to a big­ger lo­ca­tion with a larger in­ven­tory (against our ac­coun­tant’s ad­vice) and started to turn a profit. And we started an­other busi­ness:Neuterhead, a non-profit that raises money for res­cue groups, and we are proud of rais­ing a lot of money. We put on a rock and roll show, sell mer­chan­dise, and dis­trib­ute the money to dog and cat res­cue groups.

We both had lots of pets grow­ing up. Kristy has two dogs and sev­eral cats, so own­ing a pet food and sup­ply shop was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. I still work part time at the hos­pi­tal; we have two man­agers run­ning the store and we all make a comfy living.