Former engineer Lissa Shoun bought the shop in 2007. Motivated by her love for animals and affiliation with Mickaboo bird rescue, she decided to turn the store into an adoption center for homeless or rescued pets.
“There are so many perfectly good, wonderful animals that need homes, ” said Shoun. She thought, “how wonderful it would be if there was a pet shop where people could see these animals.”
The store on The Alameda now sells everything from dogs and cats to fish and cockroaches, and at first Shoun’s new concept seemed to be working out.
“Everyone was happy we are helping animals,” said two-year employee Oliver Morton.
About six months ago, things began to change. The sales of pet food and supplies have not been enough to support the store. Employees say there is a misconception that the shop's supplies cost more than they do chain pet stores, and the sale of rescued pets alone can not support the icon.
Shoun now fears the store may shut down.
The mood is, “pretty tense,” said Morton. “We’re all scared of losing our jobs and losing the store … but … we are still a family and able to joke around.”
But Shoun has not thrown in the towel just yet. She has received a great deal of community support and is reaching out via Facebook, Twitter, the store’s Web site and good, old- fashioned fliers for aid.
The community is responding with squawks and squeaks.
“People are coming in almost crying because they hear we might close,” said Shoun. “If we build our business back up … we’ll keep going.”