Marieke Shepard and Roemi Wiley
About three years ago, Marieke Shepard (pictured at left) was working a desk job at Enloe Medical Center. It paid the bills, but she couldn’t see herself sitting all day for much longer. She saw her sister, Roemi Wiley, a stay-at-home mom, whose busy life made running to the store to buy pet food difficult. The two decided to create a business that would combine both their passion for animals and a service they felt was missing—free pet food delivery to their customers’ homes. And so, the two sisters’ love for their furry friends inspired them to create Go Doggy Pet Store three years ago. Shepard and Wiley are passionate about providing their service to people who need it and are extremely knowledgeable about every product they sell. They offer one-time orders as well as a subscription service where people can set up a recurring order. Go Doggy will be at the Thursday Night Market giving out free samples of their food and selling treats and toys. More information on Go Doggy Pet Store can be found at www.godoggypetstore.com.
What inspired you to start Go Doggy Pet Store?
Shepard: I had always been a pet lover. We loved animals. About four or five years ago I wanted to start a pet store, but there are so many and I wanted to create a business that was unique. I thought, “Wow, what if we had a store where people could order and we could do free delivery?”
What have been some of the biggest challenges starting a new business?
Shepard: Getting people to trust that we are a legitimate business. You can have all of the ideas in the world, but learning how to operate the business is completely new.
Wiley: The challenges of overcoming your fears and what you don’t know and the decisions involved. You have to have a passion that’s greater than your fear, to keep going forward. If we had a book that showed what the requirements are we would’ve gone, “Oh, we’re not worthy.” It was overcoming fear with more passion.
What have you learned?
Shepard: When you live in a small town like Chico, customer satisfaction is everything. We learned that we had to make sure we were going to do what we said, be on time, be there and give them what they wanted.
Can you describe your clientele?
Wiley: Young people who are working jobs and get off after the feed store is closed. Mothers running around who are busy. For elderly people, it’s very hard to get to the store. And there are a lot of people, like students, who don’t have cars in Chico.
What kinds of products do you offer?
Shepard: In the perfect world, you want to give your pet food that is the highest quality. We have that, but we also offer food that’s much more economical but still high quality.
Wiley: We try to get them the best stuff that we can at the very lowest prices that we can.
Shepard: People’s animals are their family. We are trying to give them good food and good supplements to give them a long life and well-being. Pets and animals make us better human beings.