GS PETS Summer 2018
Rocky & Maggie’s By Sam Ujvary

A popular pet boutique and how it grew into an empire

To own, manage and successfully run a retail business, takes an awful lot of heart. You have to have patience, be able to accept criticism and be willing to change certain things you thought you knew. But if you’ve got a passion for what you’re doing, a vision for how you want it to look and the means to persevere through trials and tribulations, well then, you’re on the right track.

Owners Bill Klein and Jen Arnold.

Exhibit A: the couple who loves coming to work every day, and it reflects in their achievements.

Gift Shop Pets chatted with Bill Klein, co-founder of Pop-up Pee Pads and one half of husband-and-wife team that owns Rocky and Maggie’s Pet Products.

Rocky & Maggie’s is a family of businesses Klein has created in the pet industry. Named after their two family dogs, Rocky (11-year-old Chihuahua) and Maggie (7-year-old Terrier mix). Rocky was discovered when Klein’s wife, Jennifer, was visiting family in Florida and visited a local horse farm; Maggie was a rescue from Pup Squad in Houston. “They have both brought great joy to our home and have grown into the roles of family dogs with the addition of our two children, Will and Zoey,” said Klein.

Rocky & Maggie’s Inc. is the couple’s Houston-based boutique and salon, while Rocky & Maggie’s Franchise is the corporation they have created as a long-term goal of franchising the Houston location into something spectacular.

Rocky & Maggie’s carries thousands of items perfect for just about any pet owner.

The company as a whole is a great success story. But it had to start somewhere. Klein quoted his wife, who quotes Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky all the time. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” He says don’t avoid challenges, rather, face them with a smile.

Perhaps it was this notion that catapulted the interest in growing the business.

“As a business, we have had some great success and some great failures,” said Klein. “The key to surviving and thriving in any business is perseverance and the willingness to change to meet your customers’ ever-changing needs.”

Besides taking risks, being diligent and being open to alterations, Klein suggests you do your research if you’re looking to break into the industry. Assume nothing; ask around; understand your demographic and talk to the community to understand people’s buying habits and behaviors. And, without question most importantly, “Love what you do. Don’t do something for money in hopes of finding happiness. Do something that makes you happy and money will come.”

Displays around the shop feature a vast collection of products the owners have curated.

There’s a simple notion that allows Klein and his family to maintain their heart in this industry.

“When a customer walks in the door, no matter what their day has been like up to this point, they smile,” said Klein. “Not because I have the prettiest shop in Houston (though I am pretty sure I do), but because they are thinking about their dog or cat. That fuzzy mess that waits at the door for them to come home every day. I get to be a part of everyone’s happy moment … and that is something special.”

Sam Ujvary

Sam is the managing editor of Gift Shop Pets, Museums & More and Party & Halloween Retailer, and is a contributing editor for Gift Shop Magazine. She has a copywriting background and has been in publishing for six years.

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