How it Started…
Cat’s Namesake Caters to Pets, their Owners
Star News Article – Neighbors Section November 2005
By Judy Royal
Paul and Rae Keane were tired of traveling from Southport to Shallotte or Wilmington to get special corn-free food for their cat, Zeetlegoo. So they decided it was time for Southport to have its own specialty pet shop, and in December 2004, Zeetlegoo’s Pet & People Store was established.
Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting
“There were no real pet stores right here, at least not with the kind of food that we wanted to feed her,” Rae Keane said.
“We decided we wanted to focus on just dogs and cats. We have cats, and my husband has always had dogs, and we just figured we’d do what we do best.”
Zeetlegoo’s carries premium foods in more than a half-dozen brands and healthy treats with no food coloring or artificial preservatives. “We’re kind of taking the holistic approach,” she said. “We carry unique products, stuff you can’t get in Southport.”
The approach worked for Zeetlegoo, the Keanes’ aging Abyssinian who had been plagued by stomach problems and weight loss. Although she passed away in June at the age of 16, the couple said the food made her last days healthy ones.
“It was just amazing what a difference,” Rae Keane said. “Even until the day she died, her fur looked beautiful. She stopped throwing up, gained weight and her fur balls went away.”
During the holidays you’ll see dog- and cat-themed trees in the shop as well as seasonal gift items. The Keanes are planning to offer pictures of pets with Santa, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10, 2005.
Anytime you visit the shop you’ll see Timber, the couple’s golden retriever, who comes to work with them every day. He’s a greeter as well as a product tester. “Everybody comes to visit Timber,” Rae Keane said. “All toys and treats are Timber-tested.”
While the Keanes have four other cats, they never lose sight of Zeetlegoo’s influence. The store prominently displays a sign spelling out her mission. “She was the inspiration for the store, and she told us we should carry healthy treats and fun toys for her furry buddies and also gifts for our human friends,” Rae Keane said.
The Keanes hope to do some renovating in the future to free up more room for their 3,700 items. In addition, they are working on launching a promotional Web site and hope to sell their products via the Internet eventually.
“Our business has improved every month that we’ve been open,” Paul Keane said. “Some people are still finding us.”
The Keanes admit having a business of their own is more work than they expected, but they think it’s worth the effort.
“We’ve got a lot of happy customers, and people with pets tend to be good people,” Paul Keane said. “I don’t know how many people thank us for opening this store.”