causetopawsCause to Paws is a family owned Pet Boutique located in the heart of Coolidge Corner. The boutique opened  its doors in 2005 with the hope of adding a new spark to the local pet industry. Along with the unique items for pets and owners, what holds Paws apart is its success as a family-owned business in a chain obsessed Corporate America. Terry Meyers started Cause to Paws after quitting her job and taking a month trip to Ethiopia for a once-in-a-life time opportunity. When Terry returned, she realised she wanted a fulfilling life she could not have while chained to corporate America employment. Terry came to the conclusion her love for her dog Kanji, a part Cockapoo and part Shitzu, was to be an even bigger inspiration.

“It has given me flexibility in my life – owning my own business I can make the rules. Working with my sister has it’s pros and cons (mostly pros) and we feel very much the same in our commitment to the business, the dogs and the community – both Brookline and the greater pet community. Initially when the economy was better , and therefore business was better , life was a lot easier.  Now with the uncertain times it has become more difficult, with more concerns. Customers have definitely changed their buying patterns and we are having to make adjustments. We pride ourselves in customer service and knowing the names and likes/dislikes of the dogs and their owners. I know this is well received and is what sets the family business apart from many of the chains and their changing personnel.  I think there are greater expectations on a family business. Many of our customers begin to think of us as family and with that brings added pressure – hopefully we are living up to their expectations.”

Treat counter at Cause to Paws

Treat counter at Cause to Paws

Terry Meyers set out to create a store that was a part of the community by knowing customers and pets on a personal level. The boutique holds products that one cannot find in the big box stores. Cause to Paws has tough toys, organic items, wholesome treats, recycled items and even are happy to do special orders. The boutique is becoming well known for their specialty sweaters and winter coats (for your pet of course). They also participate in products that donate to different animal causes. Cause to Paws is also an excellent resource for discovering the right credible vet, dog walkers, groomers, trainers and pet sitters. There are also events held such as Halloween and Purim Parties that involve pets and children. Yappy Hour for the dogs and people to mingle, talks with trainers, pet communicators, massage therapists, acupuncturist and donations to animal related causes.

“Many of the small independent stores have closed with more chains appearing.  In addition to chains, there is an over abundance of nail salons, banks, health clubs, hair salons and now daycare centers – although the store fronts have filled , there appears to be a lot less actual retail stores. It is tough to run a retail business and now with the economy as it is, although people love their pets , spending habits have definitely changed.” Terry

“Other then my lack of income, I am definitely happier and healthier then I was when I worked in Corporate America.  I have met wonderful people, met fellow store owners, become part of the business community as well as having gotten more involved in community politics – sometimes good sometimes not!” Terry Meyers

In this economy it is hard to find reasons not to be frugal, and keeping a store afloat when a  society’s spending changes is difficult . In the challenges of a possibly failing economy, a country obsessed with chemical foods, plastic houses and chain stores where you will never even have the desire to meet the owner, one must appreciate and hold on to the little stores that truly make our community what it is.

by Emily Bravman, writer for the HUB