Michelle Trainor
Adventure Pets

What does your company do?

At Adventure Pets, we help facilitate the bond between people and their pets. We sell Adventure Pet gear such as trail boots, backpacks and harnesses. We also carry treats and toys. It’s not really about what we sell, though. It’s about helping people find solutions to problems so they can spend more time making memories with their best four-legged friends.

What is your background and how did you get into the business?

I’m a registered nurse. I chose that career because I wanted to help people. It took me several years to realize that my passion isn’t just helping people; it’s creating positive experiences for them. That’s what we try to do when people visit our shop with their dogs.

We got into the dog gear business completely by accident. Several years ago, in preparation for a local charity 5K, we wanted to find our huskies a pair of good quality trail boots and a backpack. Unable to find anything locally, we started searching for suppliers. Seven pairs of boots and three backpacks later, we had found what we deemed to be the best. Our dogs were a hit at the 5K! We quickly realized other dog owners needed guidance when they started approaching us to ask how we found a pair of boots that would actually stay on the dog’s feet. This prompted us to purchase and test a number of outdoor pet products. We wanted to be able to give honest feedback by trying it all on our own dogs. We like helping people find solutions for their pets so much that our hobby turned into the Adventure Pets retail shop.

What sets your company apart from others?

It all goes back to creating a positive experience for our customers. We don’t just want to sell a product. We have tested everything in our store to be able to provide honest feedback. We take time to help dog owners fit and size their pet’s new gear. We demonstrate to them how to use their new gear. We want to make sure that dogs and their owners are prepared to have the best and safest adventures possible. We have a lot of happy “pupstomers.”

What is the biggest challenge your business faces?

It’s not easy to be a brick-and-mortar retailer right now. There continue to be supply chain issues. The cost of everything is rising. We are committed to providing quality products at fair prices. All our treats and food are limited ingredient and made in the USA. We care about sourcing. We do everything we can to avoid raising our retail prices to our customers. This means we have to purchase smarter. We have to buy in larger quantities and only when products are on sale from the supplier. Sometimes we run out of certain things, but to us, this is better than raising the price.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
That one is easy! My favorite part is seeing all the happy dogs who visit our shop. I also love when we can help people solve problems their pets are having. A lot of people come to us because they have pets struggling with issues like anxiety. We have products and suggestions to help. It’s always a good feeling when customers tell us what we recommended helped their dog.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I’ve always loved the saying, ”Life is too short to be working for someone else’s dream.” It’s true. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs. People will tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t do it. You’ll even doubt yourself. My best advice is to do it anyway. Find your biggest competitor and learn how to do it better than them. Take your passion, skills and experience and figure out a unique way to be of service to your target market. 

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
I’ve worked in the corporate world long enough to know I’m replaceable. They might have to hire three people to do it, but ultimately my loyalty really means nothing to them. When you’re an entrepreneur, you become a valuable member of your community. You build relationships with customers, vendors and other businesses. The people around you depend on you, and you matter to them. Looking around at the community you are part of and able to serve is one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur.