Most companies reflect upon the past and future at the end of the year. For us, reflections and change have been a constant for our company for the past two years. It’s been a whirlwind from Covid to expansion to delays in expansion. And lest we forget the fight against the big guys, who sell convenience but with a price. And I mean a price. We have lost and gained customers over the years, but Covid, admittedly, changed consumer buying habits. Don’t get me wrong, we still, by far, have the best customers, but the Chewy and Amazons of the world, unashamedly, steal customers at significant rate. It’s a problem for all small businesses. 

Where once Amazon was a place to get cheap stuff cheap, now it’s the place to shop. And Chewy is the Amazon for the dog world. However, they lack in seeing the forest through the trees. And I say that with confidence, as we have found ways to keep our business going amid a pandemic and the subsequent fallout of increased prices, supply chain disruptions, and the uncertainties of the new consumer model, while we all fight the effects of inflation. 

We are a scrappy bunch, small business owners, because we do not have the millions and banks salivating at our feet to loan us money for operations. We must figure it out, so to speak. Especially as a female owned business. And before anyone says, we are playing the woman card, that’s not it. We have been in business for over 15 years now. And not once, until recently and with pure luck and help from a friend, were we able to find a bank that sees us as business owners and not asked for things no one else was asked to provide. We talk to other businesses and our story is unique to female entrepreneurs, and shouldn't be. 

We contribute to our communities in so many ways. We employ differently abled people, we work with programs to train differently abled people to move forward in life, we give to local rescues, and we pay attention to our customers. We have watched young children go off to college, families lose family members and beloved pets, families get a new pet, and we have lost customers dear to us. It’s not easy. We feel the emotions with each of our customers when they walk in the door. Let me ask you, how do you explain that to someone who needs to understand our worth beyond the bottom line? 

For Amy & I, that is a struggle, as we never look to raise ourselves above others. Our entire team is a unit and we all do well together and when we don’t, we all work together to figure out why. We listen to our staff, we have the difficult discussions, make gut-wrenching changes to be able to continue to operate in a changing retail world for brick & mortars. And we care. Chewy and Amazon can’t hold a stick to that. Let’s not talk about how they are charging everyone for the convenience (yes in most cases we are less expensive). Imagine that. But consumerism is also routine and what they offer, we can’t without significant cost, which then would make it impossible to continue to provide what we do now, which is true concern and the want to provide you and your pets with the best there is, at a price that is affordable. 

And we never talk about our competition in the local area negatively because that would bring our worth to zero. As small businesses, we should be supporting one another and carving out our own niche in the pet world, as we did so long ago and continue to today. 

For us, being unique, and not like the rest, is what we do best. So as we look at the rest of this year and next year, our priority will always be you. And we are so grateful for the support because believe me, without all of you, we wouldn’t exist.

Thank you for 15 years and Cheers to 15 more.

Amy & Laurie

#endofyear #leapsandbones #leapsandbonestoo #thedogbarkerymanchesterct