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Wednesday, Nov 09, 2022
The Winning Franchisee | Local Husband and Wife Follow Their Passion for Educating Twin Falls on Pet Needs By Investing in Pet Wants Franchise
With a uniquely in-demand product and streamlined business model, the pet food franchise offers entrepreneurs like Valerie and Mike Steinmetz the opportunity to become local pet experts in the communities they serve.
Husband and wife duo Valerie and Mike Steinmetz have years of experience in the retail and construction equipment industries, but they always longed for something more. After searching for healthy food alternatives for their own dog, Valerie came across Pet Wants, the fresh, nutritional pet food with high-quality ingredients. Quickly, the Steinmetzs realized there was a prime opportunity to help fellow pet owners in their community, while also following their dream of entrepreneurship by opening a Pet Wants franchise of their own.
Valerie and Mike recently signed up to open a location in the Twin Falls area. The couple is starting with a mobile unit to travel in the community and help educate pet parents on ways to keep their pets happy and healthy. As business owners, the Steinmetz's want to be heavily involved in their community, especially through the Pet Wants program, Pack Gives Back.
1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?
Mike Steinmetz: I had 22 years of experience in construction equipment rental. I worked in all aspects of the industry. I worked in the yard, and at the counter, I fixed equipment, I loaded and unloaded equipment and I worked my way up to service manager. About 10 years ago, I went to UPS, and now I’m an air driver.
Valerie Steinmetz: I have experience in retail. Since I was in high school, I’ve worked in different types of retail industries ranging from toy stores to Hallmark stores. I wanted more than retail, so I went to dental hygiene school and was a hygienist for 15 years. After some neck and back issues, I left that field and began managing a warehouse for a woman’s clothing boutique. I’ve been doing that for about five years now.
I’ve looked into starting my own business in the past. I wanted to open my own business at the age of 20, but it seemed really overwhelming, so I didn’t go through with it. Mike and I both have been interested in business ownership, so when an old patient of mine suggested franchising, it started the conversation between us that we could own a business. We’ve always worked for other people and played by their rules, but we wanted to do something more and something that we could do together. At the same time, we were looking for healthy food alternatives for our Shiba Inu, Stella, and because of that, I saw a promotion for Pet Wants. After looking into it, I was really interested in the concept.
1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?
Mike: I never thought we would be able to franchise. I thought the amount of money, knowledge, and background we had wouldn’t allow us to be successful as business owners. But I’ve learned that if you find a great brand that fits your passions and strengths, they make it possible for you to succeed.
Valerie: I thought you would need to have a lot of money. I also thought that the royalty fees would be outrageous, and I didn’t see the point in paying someone else for a business I would own. But franchising makes a business so easy to start up. They give you the tools you need to succeed with a great business model.
1851: What makes you stand out as business owners in your local community?
Mike: I think that we will stand out because we will be able to talk about what is going on with people’s pets. We can explain the reasons why you should be doing certain things for the health of your pet. Essentially, we are selling education, not food.
Valerie: We’ll stand out because we will be a support to our customers and bring solutions to them.
1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?
Valerie: The more we talked to Pet Wants, the more they fit everything we were looking for. We wanted to provide the best nutrition for Stella, and now we can do that and help other pet owners. We loved the fact that Pet Wants really pushes community involvement and that we could start with a mobile unit. They give you that option so you can have lower startup costs. You can start small and grow. Pet Wants has a Give Back to the Pack program where you donate food and supplies that we also really loved.
Mike: We liked that it was a product that wasn’t offered near our community. No one in this area can buy such a high-quality, nutritious, and fresh product. I’m excited to bring the product to the community and educate people on the health of their pets.
1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth?
Mike: My main focus is to get the first location off the ground and bring this great information to as many people as possible. We want to break even in the first six months, and in at least 12 months, we hope to have a storefront. We want to be a completely self-sufficient store in the next two years. I went into training just thinking about sales, but now I know that I really want to use this brand to educate people and create a product that will help people and their pets.
1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?
Mike: As pet owners, we can humanize our dogs. We don’t want to give them certain things because we think they are gross. But we don’t know the true benefits for our pets. I want to bring that education to pet owners in my community.
Valerie: We aren’t just business owners; we have pets that are a part of our family. We know how you feel as a pet owner, and we truly want what is best for your pet.
1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?
Mike: Make sure the brand you choose fits your passions and your lifestyle. The more we talked to Pet Wants, the better it felt. That’s why we ultimately chose to go with this brand. Make sure to do your research and find the brand that sticks with you. Even if you have some fear going into it, if you have a connection with the brand and the mission they have, you will find success.
Valerie: The franchises we looked at before raised more questions for us. They didn’t feel right. As soon as we found Pet Wants, we instantly fell in love with the brand. So look for that feeling and don’t just jump into a franchise. Make sure it fits what you want.
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