Currituck Small Business Spotlight is presented by Currituck County Economic Development. Our goal is to share the stories behind some of our most successful local small businesses. This time, we put the spotlight on Rose Thompson, owner of Ole Fox in Moyock.
Have you always lived in Currituck or did you relocate here?
I have been blessed to have lived in Currituck for ten years.
What appealed to you about Currituck County?
I always loved horses and animals, so having land was important. I lived in Virginia Beach for many years and seeing only a few traffic lights and lots of beautiful rural land was very appealing. The people are so friendly, and you are just able to take a deep breath and relax "out here." At the same time, we are so close to everything.
Why did you start your own business?
I always had a love for animals and taking good care of them while still maintaining a budget. I started this business with the help and support of my daughter Joli, who has been alongside me through this journey.
I suffered a traumatic head injury that gave me a different outlook on life. As I recovered and struggled with memory issues and other things that come with a brain injury, I found my thinking was different. I was almost unable to think of the past, and could only think in the moment. I think that is what gave me the guts to go ahead and "do this.”
You have to almost not have any fear when you start your own business. If you overthink it, you might kill your plan. Just as I had done in the past. I got very lucky because I picked something I was passionate about, and there was a need in my area. But I would not recommend starting a business without a business plan.
Bless my husband for not leaving me, because I took equity out of our home and charged up credit cards to make this happen, and he took a chance too by listening to me. It's a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck too.
What's the best part about owning and operating a business in Currituck County?
I love the people here. We deal with folks that truly love their animals, as we sell only the better products on the market. I personally research everything that goes on our shelves and folks who love their animals come to appreciate that. We deal with pet parents, not pet owners, who truly love their pets like their babies. I’m the same way with my furry friends, so I can relate to being able to shop somewhere where you can trust all of its products.
What's the hardest part about owning and operating a business in Currituck County?
We are close to the Virginia state line, and a lot of residents here commute to VA for work. We’re a new business, so a lot of folks are still used to stopping by VA stores to do their shopping. We are growing and getting new customers with word of mouth. Not a lot of people think to even look for shopping in Moyock, so that has been the hardest challenge so far. We’ve been in business for three years and still have folks that come in and say that they didn't even know we were here!
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business in Currituck County?
If you can live and work in Currituck you are LUCKY! It's such a wonderful place, but you really have to do your math as to how much you have to sell to stay in business. You can't overcharge or you will lose to online stores. You can't undercharge or there is no profit, and more debt. It's a delicate balance. I recommend making a business plan and speaking to business owners in your field. Also, prepare to take out loans and not make a penny for your first 2 to 3 years until you build a customer base.
What's one thing you wish you could change about your business?
I wish we had more room! We have to buy in bulk to pass on the savings, and our warehouse often looks like a game of Tetris when the trucks come! We buy popular dog foods and other items by the pallet, that's how we are able to offer such great prices.
What do you want people to know about you and your business?
Don't assume that just because we are a small business you won't get a great deal.
That’s the biggest misconception about small business in general. You have to check it out to see for yourself. Most of our prices are competitive. Sometimes online stores will buy product that is close to expiration or discontinued and can offer very low prices, but when it comes to pet health, we do not cut corners.
We only purchase products that are fresh and guaranteed. The benefit about shopping local is that you get expertise, you get quality and you get someone who stands behind their product. If we don't have the answer, we’ll find it. We also address nutrition questions directly through our contact us page and through Facebook.
We’ve helped hundreds of itchy dogs find relief just by taking the time to ask a few questions and make some suggestions. We have lots of free samples. When it comes to dog food, our goal is for your pet to be happy and healthy. We offer frequent buyer programs for many of our dog foods that online retailers or big box stores do not offer, making your final price actually lower than anywhere else!
Also, we have a lot more than people think. We sell healthy pet foods and supplies, but we’re also a complete feed store for poultry, horses, and everything in between. We carry a full line of English and Western tack, grooming items, gifts and can outfit a rider from head to toe!
Are you a small business located in Currituck County, NC?
Do you want to be considered for an upcoming Small Business Spotlight?