Small Business Makeover

$12,950 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 131 people in 41 months
After a 25 year career as an employee of the beloved Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pet Pad, Ginny Smiley bought the business, and thrived  until a number of factors, primarily big box competition, combined with major construction blocking access for over a year, Smiley's Pet Pad has reached a critical point in cash flow, and finds itseld in a "Catch 22," of not being able to stock enough pet supplies and food to provide needed revenue. An appeal to small business supporters, pet lovers and good neighbors seems to be the only way to move forward.
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It’s been an encouraging time here at Smiley’s Pet Pad over the last 3 months, with enough wonderful and generous support from all of you, for us to make plans for executing our store’s makeover. We set a goal of $50,000 to do everything we’d hoped to do, and we are still about $17,000 short of that, but we believe we have enough to redesign the store and stock enough new and unique products to provide everyone a good idea of the direction in which we are trying to move. We hope by detailing these plans here, we may reinvigorate our donation stream by providing you with something which you, as current donors, can use to reach out to your networks to those who may not have been able to give, or were previously unaware of the Gofundme campaign. ( www.gofundme.com/smileyspetpad)
To date, we have engaged with both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh to accomplish, respectively, both a redesign of our web site and a comprehensive marketing plan. In the case of the former, one of our customers was able to connect us to a web design class, and make it their class project. We expect it to be active by the end of this fall semester. The marketing plan was generated through the Pitt Small Business Development Center, provided to us in early November, and we have been diligently working to execute it. This includes adding to our social media presence by the creation of an Instagram account (smileyspetpad), and a Youtube/Google+ account, which we will link to on our Facebook page in the next day or so. We plan to provide timely information for products, services, rescue organizations, and other news items of interest for pet owners.
Our major theme is that your pets are like family, and we want to be able to provide the best products and services to you, and do so in a responsible and community-conscious manner. To that end, we intend to continue our high quality foods and treats, and seek out additional products with an eco-sustainable production ethic and/or a give-back system, e.g., companies that employ veterans, people with disabilities, or those that support animal rescue organizations. In this way, we hope to distinguish ourselves by building a business that places value on pet health, customer satisfaction and trust, community support, and planet-conscious practices.
Finally, we have set two important dates: On Sunday, January 10th, we will be closed to implement our physical store updates. We are looking for volunteers to assist in moving shelving units and some cabinets, and some painting, so if you would like to assist us, please contact Ginny at 412-362-7556 during business hours (M-F, 10-7, Sat 10-5:30, Sun 12-5). Refreshments provided!
We also plan to hold a Grand Reopening event on Wednesday, January 20th, from 4-8 pm, where we will be showcasing our newly designed layout, providing food, beverages (including beer), entertainment, unveiling some new products, and finalized details regarding partnerships with service providers and rescue organizations. We hope you can join us, and please pass the word to help us make it a great party. Once again, thank you all for your continued support, and we hope for a successful New Year for not just Smiley’s Pet Pad, but for you and your beloved pets!

Ginny, and Team Smiley
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hello everyone,
It's been two months since we started our gofundme campaign. It continues to grow, thanks to each and everyone of you who have given, and still want to see us succeed. We seem to have hit a plateau, however, and we're still $20,000 short of our goal. Business is still slow, and we've had to invest some of the funds received to keep us going, however, we have not been idle, and we'd like to try to accomplish three things with this update. First, we want to acknowledge and thank all who have contributed in any way, and ensure that you understand we are not asking you to give again. Second, we want to let you know what the state of our campaign planning is to establish our makover. Third, we want detail our plans should we meet our fundraising goal.
On the first point, we hope that each of you who has given will reach out one last time to those in your personal or professional networks to consider contributing.
On the second, we have reached out the University of Pittsburgh's Small Business Development Center, and are in the process of establishing a consulting agreement to assist us in our overall business strategy, centered on our core belief that we bring to our customers that which is difficult to find at our competitors, while maintaining the high quality food products we pride ourselves in providing...in effect we want to conduct, with the SBDC's help, a serious marketing study to try and find a niche beyond our pet foods which has not been filled here in our city. Additionally, we will soon be launching a brand new website that we can be proud of, and that will be useful, secure, and convenient to you.
Third and finally, we have investigated the idea of moving the store to Highland Park (Bryant St.), and while I personally was inclined against the idea at first, based on the move I made from Walnut St. to our present Shadyside Plaza venue, as we looked into it more, we believe the idea has real merit, both in terms of not moving far from our current, albeit diminished, customer base, and developing new customers in the surrounding communities. The benefits at this time seem to outweigh the cons, and so the plan is to do so if and when we near our fundraising goal.
I am truly touched by the outpouring of support from you all, and remain hopeful that the future is as bright as your generous spirits have made me feel. Thank you, one and all.

Ginny and Team Smiley
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We are closing in, and with outside pledges we are over 60% towards our goal! Please continue to share and thanks to all! We will update you soon on our plans to use these generous donations to remake Smiley's Pet Pad into your ideal local pet supply store.
I get my food, treats, and toys at Smiley's Pet Pad!
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We are well on our way, and working hard to plan a successful approach to making our store and business model one that is responsive to you, our customers!
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$12,950 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 131 people in 41 months
Created July 22, 2015
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$100
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36 months ago
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36 months ago
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37 months ago (Monthly Donation)
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$75
Craig Elias
38 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$100
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38 months ago
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38 months ago
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$55
pat and fran mcmichael
38 months ago

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