Like most pets, Garrick’s dog had an aversion to swallowing pills. When Garrick finally found a liquid supplement she tolerated, the manufacturer invited him to distribute their products in Hawaii. He set up a booth at the local farmers’ market, added other items his customers requested, and discovered he had a knack for working with pet owners.
“We do everything with integrity. That’s our motto. Sometimes, people want to buy a bunch of extra items. It’s not that I don’t want to sell them to you, but you really don’t need all that. We treat everyone like family, all our customers.”
Garrick wasn’t sure he was ready to make his side hustle a permanent gig. He was still working for Hertz and planned to retire eventually. Then, a friend told him about a pet store for sale in Kailua, and the opportunity felt right.
The pandemic ended his corporate career, and Garrick embraced his new role, “I was blessed because I had something I could just transition into without any headaches.”
He kept the shop’s original name, Enchanted Lake Pet, but dug in immediately to update other aspects of the business. The previous owner had no social media presence, so Garrick created a website and expanded the shop’s product line.
“There was a lot of opportunity. For the first three years, I concentrated on social media. And it’s amazing. Nowadays, people walk into the store and say, ‘Wow, I haven’t been here in a while. You have everything now!’”
“The front counter is not very user-friendly. If you purchased a 30- or 40-pound bag of dog food, we used to have to lift it onto the counter to scan it. That counter is about four feet high. With the portable device, we can walk out, scan it, save it as an order, and use that.”
Garrick explains that running a small business on an island far from the supply chain presents other challenges, “Freight is very expensive. I believe there’s a surcharge that’s attached to the cost of products sent to Hawaii. And the time between ordering and delivery is much longer. You can get something faster on the mainland U.S.”
“I try to forecast what’s selling and order it in advance. For more slow-moving items, I’ve stopped carrying them. However, I’ve told my customers, if you still want it, just give me two weeks, and I’ll get it for you. So, I do a lot of special orders for customers.”
When families visit the store looking for a new pet, Garrick believes customer service requires integrity and education. “We always tell the parents, ‘The truth is, it’s not the child’s pet. It will be yours.’ And we make sure they’re prepared to accommodate all that a new family member needs.”
Clover’s customer loyalty program is integral to the success of Enchanted Lake Pet. Garrick describes the power of using social media to increase engagement, “I posted about it on Facebook and Instagram when I started, and then I posted again maybe a week later. I got a notification from Instagram saying it was my most-visited post with the most likes last month.”
Selling squeaky toys and facilitating pet adoptions is a far cry from the responsibility and stress of overseeing Hawaii’s rental car operations for Hertz. While his new career brings challenges like supply chain management, Garrick feels blessed and grateful to spend time with fellow animal lovers every day.
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