Pet Supplies Plus store lures Indiana couple

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Pet Supplies Plus
If you're looking for a new place for dog chow in Winter Park, an Indiana duo has just the store for you.  Hugh and Chris Calvin, a married couple hailing from Indiana, have been running a new Pet Supplies Plus store in the Grove at Winter Park since February. 
It's been a long road to Hugh and Chris becoming franchisees of the pet-supply company. The duo spent years working in a couple of different industries.  "(My wife and I) both had careers," Hugh said. "I worked in the printing business, and my wife was in the travel industry, mostly in sales and (corporate) marketing. - It got to the point where the printing business was downsizing considerably, and I certainly was-'t old enough to retire nor did we want to retire. But I didn't want to work for another model, I wanted to do something we could have fun with."
After looking at various franchises across the country, the duo landed on Pet Supplies Plus. The franchise was looking to put another location in Florida, but Hugh and Chris had a more specific idea in mind.  "We landed on Orlando and especially the Winter Park area more as a decision by us than by them," Hugh said. "It's a more comfortable area, we like it, we like the feel and the neighbor engagement. (My wife and I) sat out at the parking lot for over three hours and watched traffic - it's a busy area."
Beyond some anxieties about leaving their families - the couple has grown children in Indiana - Hugh and Chris were excited to open the location last February. The shop sells the various foods, toys and other necessities for pet owners - with cat and dog food being some of the top sellers - but takes what Hugh calls a different approach. Many pet shops have the most popular items in the far back so customers will explore more and hopefully pick something else up. However, Pet Supplies Plus puts the top sellers at the front of the store. On top of the basic supplies, visitors also can take their pets in for a washing and grooming session in the back. 
The couple split their responsibilities based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. Hugh said he prefers to handle the nuts-and-bolts elements of processing and controlling the operations, while Chris specializes in the human resources and marketing.  The new occupation is definitely a good time for his wife, Chris. When she wasn't working in sales and marketing, she was a vet technician - something she called her "fun job." On weekends, she would draw blood, give injections and assist in surgeries for people's pets. The couple has taken in pets of their own, typically more elderly dogs, for years.

"The pet has become more of a member of the family, we treat our pets differently," Hugh said. "They're no longer, at least I hope, what's chained out in the back of the house that we have as property; these pets are near and dear to us. People that come in here treat their pets every bit as good as they do their family members."
4270 Aloma Ave., Suite 136, Winter Park
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays
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