Postcards From The Pandemic: One Stop Mom And Pop Pet Supplies
Imagine starting a small business — a dream business. Things are smooth a few days in and then suddenly every ounce of momentum comes to a complete stop.
That’s the reality for Fatima Rivera, the owner of One Stop Pet Supply in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. The storefront opened for business just weeks before Gov. Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order.
“It is a struggle. I definitely feel like this has put us in a bind,” Rivera said.
Fatima Rivera turned her love of pets into a small business. [Fatima Rivera]
Pet supply stores do fall under the state’s essential businesses list, but Rivera is still struggling to build a strong, loyal customer base in these fledging days of her shop.
A Ghost Town
Even though we’re essential, it’s not essential to walk your dog when you’re on a lockdown. It’s not essential to have to run out to grab a new toy for your dog.
Now things are a little bit hit or miss. You have days when you have a ton of people out, and they’re doing what they normally do, their daily routines. Then there’s days when you have nobody at all. You don’t see a soul walk by.
Everything came to an extreme halt where I did not see a person for at least four days walking in and out.
Rivera says she has days where she doesn't see a single customer. [Fatima Rivera]
Rivera runs One Stop Pet Supply with help from her husband, Omar Diaz. He’s a barber and since the governor ordered barbershops closed on March 18, he’s more available to lend his wife a hand.
He’s definitely a backbone. If I’m slacking, he’s picking it up. It’s definitely beneficial to have someone that agrees and shares that love for you.
This was our idea and our dream, not just mine.
Fatima and her husband Omar Diaz. [Fatima Rivera]
An Uncertain Future
It’s scary. I’m very concerned. I’m just trying to kind of put that in the back of my head for now and keep the faith and hope that this will blow over sooner than later.
They don’t speak, but they still have to be fed. People still need to feed their dogs and their cats and their reptiles. We’re just holding onto that right now.
Toys may not be a necessity for pets right now, Rivera says, but pets still need food. [Fatima Rivera]