Ahh, 2012! It has arrived! And it has arrived with fanfare! (Insert trumpets here.) I purchased the Port Jefferson location of .
That’s right. Me. It’s mine. It’s mine, mine, all mine!
I’m a little excited about it, in case no one has noticed.
The decision to buy it wasn’t one I came to easily. That location had been available for purchase, quietly, for a long time. And I have a relatively easy life. Chaotic and bizarre at times, but still relatively easy.
But this past Summer, while sitting on my deck and contemplating my future, I realized I needed more. I needed more security, more autonomy, more skin in the game. And so the idea was born to make an offer on the business.
Naturally, since it’s me, the entire process was fraught with drama and ups and downs and doubt and general mass chaos for months on end. I solicited opinions from every accountant I knew, lawyers I barely knew and even some people who had nothing to do with anything but owned successful businesses. They all told me to go for it.
I started waking up around three in the morning every day, going over and over why it was a terrible idea. I had more than one breakdown which usually involved poking my significant other awake and crying how I didn’t know if I could handle everything falling on me and having to take on even more responsibility all alone. He, every time, reminded me that while yes, ultimately the bills, the staff and my fuzzy canine customers would be all my responsibility, I was never alone. That even if we all – me, him, my son and the dogs ended up having to share a refrigerator box on the side of the road, I would never be alone.
That helped. God knows those words helped. So as closing time got closer and papers were being drawn up and all the pieces of the puzzle started coming together, I gave less thought to why I shouldn’t buy the business and more thought into why I should.
I love what I do. I’m good – some may even say great – at what I do. I have spent the last 6 years putting my heart and soul into the dog business and I have been rewarded for it every day. I’d make a comfortable salary for as long as the business was open. Honestly, I’d have been a fool to not do it.
I closed on Hounds Town Port Jeff on Jan. 3. After six years of being an employee, I became an owner.
I know this business inside and out so I wasn’t anticipating any surprises. But I was surprised. I left closing and went back to Port Jeff. There, when I walked in, I was greeted with confetti and noise makers and a staff who was so happy for me I actually couldn’t speak at first (seriously, that happened.)
And the customers! The outpouring of genuine, heartfelt congratulations and words of support were overwhelming. People who I didn’t think even noticed me or what I did everyday couldn’t tell me enough how happy they were for me. Honestly, it’s been a week and I still can’t get over it.
I’ve been asked if anything is going to change. Fundamentally, no nothing is going to change. I love my staff, I love the customers and I don’t want a single thing in that regard to change. Our services, policies and procedures are not going to change – it’s what made this business successful in the first place. But there will be subtle changes...some pink paint in the office…a grooming room that looks more like a day spa…a little more work done with my favorite rescue group…just the little things that soothe me and make the place more like home. My home. And hopefully a second home for the staff and the dogs who visit us every day.
As always, I’m grateful. I’m grateful I found what I was meant do. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the tremendous support I received throughout the entire process and afterwards. If I ever find a way to pay my gratitude forward, I will.