The Big Idea: Whiskers Pet Shop partners with PAWS

Something magical happened in Pemberton recently: the partnership of Pemberton Animal Well-Being Society (PAWS) and Whiskers Pet Shop.

Whiskers Pet Shop, a pet food and supplies store, recently opened up in the Elements building, a busy part of Pemberton. At the front of their store, they built a cattery, a glassed-in room for cats that need to be adopted (you can see the cattery from both inside and outside the shop).

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It was built to be a welcoming temporary home that ensures the cats that need to be adopted are going into homes with a positive start, free from any stress.

The partnership with Holly Nunn of PAWS was an easy decision for Sandy Lee, owner of Whiskers Pet Shop and daughter-in-law, Desiree Lee, owner of Hair of the Dog Grooming, which is also located in the shop.

“We are thrilled to be able to be that stepping stone for more adoptions to happen,” said Desiree. “We are so grateful to be able to make a difference in these animals’ lives and see so many happy families welcome the kittens and cats we grow to know and love dearly. We knew early on that the community wanted to support PAWS more and it was not always (easy). The community was there to support, we just helped to get the cats out of the shelter and into the public, visible to potential homes.

If you have an idea, explore it

Sometimes, all it takes is having the courage to explore an idea to make things happen. By simply talking about an idea with other people, you may have a positive impact on an entire community.

“We have learned as entrepreneurs that it only takes an idea and an offer of help to make a difference,” Desiree said. “If you don’t speak up, you won’t see the change you envision. You need to pounce on any opportunity you find or make for yourself and your ideas will come to life.”

Try to offer a creative solution

By talking to Nunn, the team knew that they could step in to make a difference. Both Desiree and Sandy understood that if the cats had more exposure they would have a better chance at being adopted.

“We connected with Holly of PAWS to get the growing number of cats out of the shelter and into an environment that gets them seen. They are safe, socialized and extremely well taken care of in a loving environment,” explained Desiree.

Two heads are better than one

The partnership between PAWS and Whiskers Pet Shop shows the value of exploring opportunities for strategic partnerships in businesses that share the same goals. If there are multiple organizations that are able to contribute to help the community (or a not-for-profit), building an alliance can make a massive impact.

“We have connected with some of our local suppliers who are eager to help. FirstMate supplies the food for PAWS. Acana donated a bag of food for each adoption for three months and Blue Dane is offering treats with every adoption starting in January. World’s Best Litter will be donating litter for the cattery (this year),” Desiree said.

The value of connecting with the community  

“We thrive working, communicating and listening to the locals. Our intentions to help PAWS have been well received and we are really proud of the success we’ve contributed to so far. Holly Nunn is a powerhouse and her work with PAWS is inspiring to us.”

As of last Friday (Jan. 13), 38 cats have been adopted since Whiskers Pet Shop’s cattery opened.

Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector.

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