Q. What inspired you to open
PetPort?

A. When I was music director at
WCBS-FM, New York, I had just
adopted two Jack Russell litter mates. When the boy, Dave, was almost 2 years of age, he was misdiagnosed with lymphoma,
and I was told he only had weeks
to live. I fell in love with this puppy, and decided I was going to do everything I could to help him. At the time, I was programming
the radio station on one computer
and researching my dog’s disease on another simultaneously.

After two years of chemotherapy, we learned that Dave didn’t have cancer. He probably had some strain of Lyme’s disease
that was unknown back then and in time it resolved with multiple courses of antibiotics. At that point, I was very interested
in going to DVM school, but that’s a tough road. I had a successful career in New York City radio, on-air, for many years at WCBS-FM, WBLS, WKTU and Lite-FM. Going back to grad school at
that point was not a reality for me. So, after much thought, I decided to open an all-natural pet supply boutique in my hometown of Northport, New York. It was a side project at the time. I had learned so much studying about pet diseases and nutrition as Dave got better. I really wanted to provide a haven for pet parents to visit, get sound advice and veterinarian referrals—and PetPort was born.

I created the PetPort brand as if I was programming a radio station. We “played” the top hits. In other words, I started with the top brands in the natural pet food category. First it was top five, then 10 and we started to blossom. Now going into our 10th successful year, we target our local community and it’s really paid off! Dave lived until he was 14 years old.

 

Q. What has been the secret
to your success?

A. I think the “secret” to our success is passion and hard work. I grew up with an adage that my father used to say (it was an old, Earl Nightingale quote): Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” That phrase speaks volumes on many levels, and has always resonated with me. My husband Tom helped me launch PetPort. We worked seven days a week to make PetPort happen. And if there is one word to describe our brand, it would be trust. Our customers trust that we will always give advice or sell products that will be the best solution for their pets. I want to give people the right products—products
that will be the best choice/solution
for their dog or cat.

Q. What made you decide to
add grooming services?

A. It just made sense that we should offer grooming services after a couple of years in business. Customers kept asking for it. However, I am not a groomer. It was difficult at first, because I wanted to be educated about the profession if I was going to manage it. I started going to all the grooming trade shows. I took
bather/fluffer certificate courses, first aid, breed-specific technique courses and then became an AKC-certified groomer.

Q. Are you planning anything
special to celebrate your
10-year anniversary in December?

A. We want to host a series of charity events to give back to the community. I’m hoping to do a “Twelve Days of Christmas” promotion through the holidays to raise money for local shelters and rescue groups, complete with “Yappy Hours” for pet parents and their furry family members.