Today we’d like to introduce you to Linda Greco.
Linda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
You know, it is interesting the adventures our life will lead us on if we open our minds and let it… I had never once thought about opening a store of any kind, yet now that I have this special shop I adore it, the beautiful people and animals who visit and I would encourage anyone to follow their passion and consider investing in a small business.
So how did I get here? I stepped onto a winding road with many forks called life. With each fork in the road there was a choice, sometimes the choices were easy and other times they were more challenging and overshadowed by sadness and/or fear.
My professional training is as a Registered Nurse, yet after my graduation/licensure and a life-changing mid-term miscarriage many years ago, I chose to take a different path and settle into a career as a stay-at-home mom for approximately 27 years. During that time, I did not stay home much, rather I enjoyed being active with my children, offering them an array of life experiences, as well as mentoring additional children along the way through a variety of youth leadership programs.
One such life experience with my children included volunteering at the local animal shelter. Anyone who has ever met me knows the depth of my love of animals. As a natural problem solver, there were too many things I wanted to see changed about the shelter. I knew these were not easy fixes and the little voice in my head reminded me I could either be a part of the problem or part of the solution.
Of course, I knew which kind of person I was as my internal cheerleader recited my favorite Gandhi saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the World”. So, in 2002 I was prompted to co-found an animal non-profit in Santa Barbara County to work alongside the County’s three municipal shelters to bring about positive change; the non-profit is the Santa Barbara County (SBC) Animal Care Foundation. At this juncture, my life journey was guiding me in a slightly different trajectory. At the time everything was new, intimidating, and the learning curve was quite steep, yet in retrospect, with every step where I lacked confidence, I equally benefited from blessings of personal growth and success.
Since 2002, this small all-volunteer nonprofit organization has grown, as well as being on the front lines in improving the standard of care of animals who live within our county and those who enter the shelter doors ill, injured, abandoned or neglected. I mention this because it affected how I will forever view my potential. Even though I so far out of my comfort zone, I was willing to try for the greater good of the animals. My personal discomfort was low priority and that pushed me forward. Today, northern Santa Barbara County has a state-of-the-art shelter, vulnerable shelter animals throughout the county receive precious medical and behavioral funding, and the live release rate is now over 92% at all three shelters claiming that fragile title of “No-kill”, which is huge.
Although it may sound simple it has been an extreme challenge and still is today, however, I see this practical experience is what has brought me to the next turn on my life’s journey. During my time presiding over the SBC Animal Care Foundation my soul has witnessed and continues to witness things I do not understand and cannot rationalize regarding ugliness and the treatment of animals. I see and know the magnificent beauty of this world, yet also feel the sting of infringing ugliness from a place I cannot comprehend. This has had me ponder on many occasions what is happening to kindness, empathy, compassion, smiles, passion for life, and well-being of all living things?
So on to my next chapter on my journey. On a normal morning in August 2012, I awoke to an odd type of unease. Ideas were flooding my head as though these ideas were being downloaded into my brain. I tried to go on with my morning routine, however, my brain was not having any of that. I finally gave in, sat in front of my computer and decided to type out the persistent concept before it left me as quickly as it came. All I can say is you know when you are being fed something important when there is such detail and the information just flows.
In the next 45 minutes, as I typed, I realized what I saw in front of me, in the text, was the next turn in my life’s path. It included not only love but the purest of unconditional love. It provided for education, appreciation, kindness, respect, empathy, passion, service, validation, inclusion, a way to bridge the haves to the have-nots, my way to harness my destiny and bring a little slice of beauty back into this world. At that moment the basic concept of That’s FETCH! began…
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As effortlessly as the concept came to me, the planning and reality of this project were the complete opposite. There have been many obstacles and challenges along the way. It took five years from that first August morning until the grand opening of our store in August 2017. My daughter is my partner, we spent a year honing in on every detail of our new business model, writing what we thought was an amazing business plan, to learn this living breathing document was not content and wanted us to know this was an amazing first draft, but it continued to be revised and revised for another three years. With each revision, we thought it was the best until it wanted to be better and better.
Then there was funding, we had a secure source of funding and thought okay we have prepared for this and this should be a piece of cake. Wrong, out of nowhere, right when we decided the time was right for us to apply for funding, came a huge ding to our credit. What??? Because of a clerical recording error by our mortgage company, a payment was funded on our end but was not recorded on their end. Even though we could track the payment and provide proof of payment, they said we lapsed on a payment and had reported it to our credit. It is interesting how one’s proof and perspective does not carry a lot of bearing on the powers who are in control of such things.
We scanned items, dictated conversations, with a lot of frustration and anger climbed the ladder to the next manager or supervisor to be told the same thing, there was nothing that could be done. In the end, because we knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who used to be someone, we got through to someone high enough in this company to look at the proof and make things good. After 9 months of insanity, we finally began the process to secure the necessary funding and move forward. This incident had us wondering when the next shoe was going to drop to shut us down again.
After securing the funding, we began to learn about the challenges with City permits, contractors, City inspectors and then issues the landlord was having interfering with the entire shopping complex opening. Finally, when things became so ridiculous and I became beyond frustrated with the layers of bureaucracy I wrote an email to our Mayor, who bless her heart actually read the email and chose to champion our struggles and not long after this communication our store was given the green light to open.
There was a time, we felt we were chasing the proverbial carrot and we would never open our beloved shop. There were many obstacles and challenges, yet surprisingly each of these obstacles and challenges had meaning and turned out to be blessings in disguise.
In retrospect, I now see each revision and challenge was a lesson in patience, tolerance, and timing, so we could find the perfect vendor, secure that perfect employee, appreciate things just a bit more, establish followers, and to push us a bit beyond our comfort level to learn more. It is amazing how our soul’s rhythm guides us if we succumb to the flow instead of insisting on pushing our own timelines.
That’s FETCH! – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
On the surface That’s FETCH! is a fun and unique Pet Bowtique, Beastro and Grooming Spaw. In reality, That’s FETCH! is a beautiful layering of all things good and wonderful in life, as a tribute to our furbabies. Our pets are so many things to us, but above all, they are the epitome of unconditional love. On our worst days, they show us what I identified earlier as a symptom of the anemia in the world resulting in a minimization of caring, kindness, empathy, compassion, smiles, passion for life, and natural concern for our well-being. They do not concern themselves with age, class, color, ability, sex/gender, weight/size, religion, sexual orientation or country of origin.
Therefore, could there be a more magical place to be than a location that truly appreciates this blessing and honors this creature that means so much to us? I know this is a place of nirvana for me. That’s FETCH! is designed to see life from the pet’s perspective by subtly touching upon their six senses. Much of this is not observed by the human visitors, however, furbabies pick up on the cues. We want furbabies to feel excitement and adventure as they enter the store, contentment while they are here, and tail wagging happiness when they leave. The brick & mortar store offers contrasting textures upon their paws and bellies, a variety of scents at their level, different intensities of sounds to hear, lots of natural light and sights to see, quality items to taste, and most importantly of all a calm, loving energy to enjoy.
Animals mainly communicate through body language and energy. Their ability to tune into energy is what makes them so special to us. They know when we are not feeling well when we have a bad day, or if mother nature is about to make a shift to her status quo.
Most humans have lost touch with this level of communication, but we can rediscover this once again by being present in the moment and monitoring our energy. When we are in a place of love and calming energy we can see, hear and feel so much more. At That’s FETCH! we work to share love, respect and calm and this is what I believe furbabies respond to most in our store. We want each precious little furbaby to feel our love and appreciation for their efforts to make our world a better place. Humans who visit our store just know it has a special feel to it.
In choosing our name we wanted to establish something cheeky, something different. We wanted our base word to be a strong word with five letters to foster success. From a dog’s perspective fetch means spending time with someone you love enjoying something very, very fun. The Urban Dictionary defines fetch as something cool, awesome, trendy, chic. So “that” is what we wanted, we wanted That’s FETCH! a lifestyle center where pet families can escape from their busy lives and spend quality, stress-free time together exploring quality products and services, and living in the moment.
Our Bowtique offers a mixture of vignettes that feature items with a purpose. The five years of wait time were not wasted as the additional planning allowed us to locate items we really value on behalf of our furry friends. Items can be found for dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Quality products marked by comfort, meaning, and the lowest price tag we can possibly offer to encourage pet parents to purchase for their furbaby’s benefit. We offer a range of collars, harnesses, toys, treats, pet attire, pet dishes, beds, a few people items too.
An important element of That’s FETCH! is time to get to know our clients and hear stories about the furbabies and their families, this is what makes up silver thread in the tapestry of our store. We enjoy the opportunity to educate and learn. We offer a variety of special events and Paw-it Forward mini pet parenting classes to increase knowledge and success for the little ones while providing an opportunity for philanthropic support by donating the fee for the event or class to help shelter animals in need. We also showcase county shelter animals and promote shelter adoptions. What better venue to introduce deserving animals to amazing families and witness happy endings.
Our Beastro offers warm, hand-blended Petuccinos and rotating Canine Cuisine items that are specific only to our store. Our barkery case boasts quality treats made of human grade and organic ingredients from a first-rate vendor. The beastro cubbies provide a fun adventure for a pet to enjoy a yummy and bring a smile to the faces of pet parents and visitors alike. Our petbasistas are tipped with licks and furbaby smiles. The beastro table at the front of the store encourages patrons to relax for a moment with a lap cushion custom made for pups to enjoy.
The That’s FETCH! grooming spaw is all about quality rather than quantity, as furbabies are treated like family and appreciated for the light they bring to this world. Our spaw takes pet grooming to the next level. Like a human spa, each pet receives the undivided attention of their spaw specialist during their appointment. Rooms are relaxing and calm, and attention is paid to the individual experience for each furbaby. Spaw specialist have been specifically chosen because of their level of experience, but equally important, their calm and loving demeanor.
Our spaw specialist love animals and are passionate about their profession as a pet groomer. Families are greeted by their spaw specialist and given the opportunity to specify the exact service they want for their furbaby. The appointment is a streamlined “straight through” appointment which allows for minimal time away from pet parents. There is no kennel time and the babies are hand-dried. Our Spaw is equipped with items designed to consciously minimize stress and separation anxiety while maximizing calm, comfort and personalized pampering.
It is our mission to PAWsitively impact the quality of life of companion animals and provides unique bonding experiences for people and their pets. It is our vision to raise the bar to create a unique experience and ambiance that warms your heart and make many a tail wag. I am most proud our planning has paid off to the fruition of an environment with very happy and content customers; our process is working. One example was a customer who entered our store concerned we were not going to be able to groom her dog because two other groomers had refused to groom him any longer and she had to submit to having her dog put under at the vet office to be groomed. She was saddened to think of this being the norm for the rest of furbaby’s life.
On their first visit, she left our store in tears, conditioned by her past experiences we were going to reject him. It was heartwarming for me to witness how well her furbaby adjusted to our grooming process. He enjoyed the experience, left one happy and beautiful pup, and momma was grateful beyond words. We love when he returns each month and relish in seeing him in his true light, without fear or prejudice.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The moment my daughter and I decided to try, instead of talking ourselves out of something because of all the risks. When I realized failure is an option, but with the potential for failure comes the potential for success through knowledge and experience so it can be a win-win in the overall scope.
I love the opportunity to share my light with the world and receiving love, kindness and appreciation in return. The ability to set the tone of my work environment, choose the caliber of employee that fit into my vision, and to choose to be honest, fair and respectful everyone who enters the door of our shop. I appreciate being in a position to increase awareness, offer a fresh alternative, and raise the bar.
- The B & B (Bath) Package ranges from $29-$89
- The Tidy Up Trim ranges from $49- $109
- The Works (Full Haircut) ranges from $50- $129
- Petuccinos $1.99- $3.49
- Canine Cuisine $2.49- $3.99
- Address: 3564 Skyway Drive, Suite B Santa Maria, CA. 93455
- Website: www.thatsfetch805.com
- Phone: 805-361-0802
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angelina Luciana Photography