A Perfect Place For Pet Lovers
When Ricky Baker and 17-year-old daughter Casey lost their jobs after the closing of Pet’s Discount in Waikele last month, they took it upon themselves to turn this unfortunate circumstance into a full-fledged opportunity. Within a few days of realizing they would have little income, Ricky and wife Debbie opened the doors to The Pet Hale in Waikele Center (occupying the former Pet’s Discount spot), where Casey now serves as manager and her sister Brandy is learning about the retail business.
“With a lot of hard work and long hours given to us by friends, family and future employees, we succeeded in getting the doors open June 17, and have been able to employ five former Pet’s Discount employees,” Debbie says.
The Pet Hale offers customers a full line of products, such as Taste of the Wild, Natural Balance, Science Diet, Eukanauba, Iams, and Nutro dog and cat foods, crickets, Pretty Bird pet foods, cages, crates, houses, beds and more.
“We also have a wide range of pets to choose from, including puppies, rabbits, Guinea pigs, chameleons, birds, fish, rats, mice and tortoises,” Ricky adds. “We have many pets of our own and love animals it shows.”
Business is off to a good start for the Bakers, as they say The Pet Hale has been well-received by the community. And there is seemingly something for every pet lover here, from higher-end products to more moderately priced items.
“We are owner-operated, so we can provide the flexibility in pricing and product mix by not being a corporately owned business,” Debbie explains. “We enjoy our customers and welcome them to visit, even if it’s just to talk story. We love hearing about our customers’ pets.”
The Pet Hale will continue to add new products and services moving forward, also offering low-cost vaccinations with a local vet clinic, as well as anesthesia, free dental cleanings, puppy training and pet adoptions in the near future. Casey is skilled in nail trimmings as well, and will bathe and clean ears on small-breed dogs.
“It’s rewarding that our customers appreciate us being here,” Ricky states. “And when we can all work together and have fun during the day with our family and staff, that is very rewarding as well.”
Debbie adds: “The challenges are the same as those faced by all small businesses in Hawaii making it through a very tough economy and competing against Mainland-owned ‘big box’ stores. But what we’ve learned is that life is about risks calculated but risks nonetheless,” she says. “If you believe in what you have to offer as a service or product, don’t be afraid to take a chance.”
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