Like most small business owners, Wilson sometimes feels the pressure
of competition from online retailers, but she chooses to outperform them
on experience rather than price.
“I worry a bit about the big internet companies, but there is no way I
can compete with them,” she says. “We just try to do the best we can to
offer superlative customer service, which the internet cannot offer. We try
to have our store be an e;citing shopping e;perience for our customers.”
The store also has a strong web presence, with much of its inventory on
its website and available for online ordering, as well as an active ;acebook
page with fre;uent updates on new products and in-store events.
Although she has considered taking the leap to open more locations,
Wilson says the right opportunity hasn’t quite worked out yet.
Whether they stay a single-store operation or eventually e;pand, she is
always looking for new ways to grow and improve her business while
maintaining its current successes. In addition to the Retailer of the Year
award from Pet Business, the store has also recently been named a Best of
Santa ;e Top Pet Bouti;ue and ;; Pet Store in New ;e;ico by other
local media outlets, clearly demonstrating that the store has found the
keys to success.
“I want to keep doing what we are doing, but always with an eye on
how we can make things better for our customers,” Wilson says. PB
Outside of local-focused items, Wilson and her team also attend Global Pet
Expo and SuperZoo to seek out new and exciting products in the industry.
THE GREATER GOOD
While the store is primarily focused on being the best possible retailer and
does not offer services at this point, community service and partnerships
play a key role in its mission and identity. There are dog adoptions in front
of or inside the store every weekend, hosting groups like the Santa ;e
Humane Shelter, Greyhound Adoption League, Enchanted Chihuahua,
Small ;og ;escue of Santa ;e and more.
“We are committed and passionate about working with New ;e;ican
animal charities and see this work as our highest purpose,” Wilson says.
The store’s core identity revolves around this idea of service to and love
for animals, right down to its name. Teca Tu was a stray picked up on the
side of the road near the town of Tecolote by the founder of the store,
Diane Burchard. She became the business’ namesake and was a permanent
feature in the store for her whole life.
;nside the store, there is a “Community Pet Services” bulletin board that
provides a forum for customers to post anything animal-related to share
with the community. Additionally, Assistance Dogs of the West frequently
brings its dogs to the store and uses it as a training area for the future service
dogs, and the store hosts monthly sessions with an animal communicator
who offers to talk with customers’ pets, both living and those that have
passed on. There is also a big basket outside the store where customers can
contribute to New ;e;ico’s Street Homeless Animal Project.
“We also donate to many organizations within our community when they
ask us for a ra;e or an auction item,” Wilson says. “; don’t think we have
turned down a single request.”
Perhaps ironically for a single-store brick-and-mortar retailer, Wilson
referenced a ;uote from ;eff Be;os, founder of Ama;on, in discussing her
store’s customer service. Be;os has said, “We see our customers as invited
guests to a party, and we are the hosts. ;t’s our job every day to make every
important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Wilson and
her team embrace this philosophy, and Wilson notes that the customers
truly are what make being a pet specialty retailer so rewarding.
“It is so much fun to interact with our customers and their pets,” she says.
“People are generally happy when they are with their pets or talking about them.”