Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
Editor's Note: Sat. Nov. 24 is Small Business Saturday, an Amercan Express sponsored program designed to help small businesses across the country. American Express card holders who register their cards with the program and make qualified purchased in qualifed stores like One Stop Pet Shop, can get cash back. For the full list of qualifying Emmaus Patch businesses and program details, visit the Small Business Saturday web site.
One Stop Pet Shop
1375 Chestnut St.
Owner: Jessica Lichtenwalner
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What service do you provide?/What do you sell?
I’d say we’re more grooming than sales, but of course we’re a pet store. I try to carry a lot of U.S. products, but unfortunately in this industry it’s really hard to find U.S.-made products. The animals here are also up for adoption.
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Why did you choose to locate your business in Emmaus?
I grew up here -- we lived right up the road behind Pickles.
How long have you been in business?
What inspired you to start your business?
The pet stores in Emmaus we just weren’t happy with, so we wanted to have an all-in-one store that was both a store and a grooming shop.
What makes your business different from the competition?
I know all our clients; they’re all family. I hear about everybody’s personal problems and no matter how crazy or kooky they are, they’re still family! So I think it’s more of a personal level: you’re not just “another customer.” We also try not to carry what everybody else has and we support small businesses other than our own.
What is the most rewarding part of your business?
There’s a lot of rewarding things. It depends, I guess, for which aspect. For the grooming we make the animals feel better. For the rescue part we get them to a better situation and a better home than what they were in, and up front I get to provide animals with the best products that I feel they need.
What’s the hardest part of your business?
To survive as a small business, honestly. That is probably the hardest part. We’re killing ourselves to stay afloat even though we’ve been open 12 years. Being a small business is not easy at all. When you have your own business, people think you get to do whatever you want, but there are so many bills that people don’t put into consideration. So I think the state of actually being a small business is the hardest part.
Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
Well, I’ll be taking over from my mom, and my mom just wants to survive! (On the other hand, my dream is to have) a whole pet-friendly cafe and lounge, where you can go and sit and have a cup of coffee with your dog indoors. You can see almost all the other animals possible -- so you want to go adopt a rabbit and there’s a rabbit there! All the animals are rescues -- all the unwanted have a place. I want to do boarding and animal training and actually have a doggie salon and spa, like a real doggie salon and spa. I want it to be a place where you can do multiple things, but bring your pets.
What business advice would you give to someone else?
Plan, plan and plan some more! And expect the unexpected because, honestly, even if you do plan and you have everything, there’s always going to be something thrown in there that you’re not going to be expecting. Look at the economy -- no one was expecting that! No matter how much you think you have it right, just expect the unexpected.
Do you have a role model for what you do?
No, only because I want to be above all of them -- because I have my own dreams of what I want my building to look like. I don’t want to be another PetCo. I want to be one of those places that’s like on the travel channel as “the most extreme.” I don’t want to be like anyone else or follow anyone else, I just kind of want to follow my own path.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I’m with my kids. They’re my main focus.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.