The Green Spot
Knowing the source as well as what goes into the items they sell is making The Green Spot in Omaha top dog (and cat) for pet owners near and far.
"Because we've spent the time researching every product, pet owners are coming to rely on us as a valuable resource," says Jennifer Haines, who co-founded the business in January 2012 with her friend, Jessica Ellis.
Haines and Ellis began working with the Nebraska Business Development Center's Omaha office in 2011.
"NBDC helped us with the spreadsheets and other paperwork we needed to secure a loan," Haines says. "We could write business plans all day, but the charts and reports, financial projections and advice they provided really helped."
The Green Spot sells natural, holistic and eco-friendly foods, treats and toys for dogs and cats, and provide advice on nutritional needs. They offer a grooming service and a self-serve dog wash.
In 2013, The Green Spot added online sales and a pet food delivery truck dubbed "Off the Chain!"
Business has grown steadily, and in May 2014 the shop will expand into the adjacent empty bay, taking it from 1,300 square feet to 3,300 square feet of space.
Ellis and Haines only sell products that they have deemed to be safe, healthy and environmentally-friendly. They sell many locally-produced products including MazzyCo handmade collars and Two Tails Bakery items. They are also dedicated to products that are made with eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, organic cotton and recycled plastics. In the shop, they only use natural cleaners, biodegradable plastic bags and washable rags instead of paper towels.
The two women met through a non-profit rescue operation called Pug Partners of Nebraska that Ellis co-founded. They are involved in a number of community- and pet-oriented projects including Nebraska Rescue Council, Big Dogs Huge Paws, Omaha Rescue Leaders Group, and Natural and Holistic Pet Retailers. They sponsor fundraisers, foster homeless animals in their personal homes, and host rescue meet-and-greet events in the store. Pug-O-Ween was their biggest fundraiser in 2013, raising more than $12,000 to benefit Pug Partners of Nebraska.
In 2012, Ellis participated in the Small Business Hike on the Hill event in Washington, D.C., where she served as an example of a business owner who would benefit if Congress were to raise the current cap placed on credit union loans to small businesses.
Haines and Ellis say they hope to continue to grow their business and possibly expand by adding an additional location in the next few years. When they do, they plan to rely upon the expertise they have come to know from the advisors at NBDC.
"They made us feel so comfortable that we have been able to throw ideas at them and get constructive feedback," Haines says. "When we start looking for an additional location, NBDC will definitely be a resource for us."
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