Rosemarie Richardson and Stephanie Rossino expanded their business and added a Pet Butler franchise in July 2019.
Work and home life can become a dizzying mix for working couples, even more so when you’re running a business together. So, it’s important to have some ground rules, be they ever so simple. Together for almost 18 years, Rosemarie Richardson and Stephanie Rossino have been owners of GiggyBites Bakery & Marketplace for dogs since 2007 before expanding their business and adding a Pet Butler franchise in July 2019. “We do a good job of staying in our own lanes,” says Richardson. “We’re really supportive and respectful of each other’s skills and ideas and that’s why it works.”
Richardson and Rossino first met on Match.com in July 2002 – “Wow, time flies!” said Richardson – and have melded each other’s talents and skills to run two successful businesses catering to area dog owners. GiggyBites Bakery & Marketplace – named after the couple’s Chihuahua, Gigabyte – sells healthy, great-tasting, homemade dog treats that are sold at its Chadds Ford retail location, online and wholesale. Conversely, Pet Butler provides waste removal and other pet-related services in Chadds Ford, located about 25 miles southwest of Philadelphia, and surrounding areas. “With GiggyBites, we’ve built a fun and thoughtful community of folks who want to feed their dogs the best stuff available,” Richardson said. “When we added the Pet Butler franchise in 2019, we were both very involved with the start-up, but since then I’ve taken the lead with Pet Butler while Stephanie focuses on store operations with GiggyBites.”
It was Stephanie who took the first foray into a pet-related business in the early ‘90s when she began making Stephanie’s Gourmet Dog Biscuits and selling them at local events. In 2004 – two years after they met – Richardson and Rossino began selling the homemade treats online and “we were soon selling treats around the country and spending all our spare time making and shipping dog treats,” Richardson said. Three years later, they opened their bricks and mortar location. “We had a good mix of food, dog and business expertise,” Richardson said. “Stephanie had worked for many years in [non pet-related] commercial kitchens and had already developed her successful recipes for dog treats. I had a business background, mostly in project management and leadership. We both really dig everything about dogs and their people, so it’s a good combination.”
Richardson kept her full-time job for many years, handling GiggyBites’ finances and helping out on weekends. But with both women now involved on a full-time basis in their respective businesses, Richardson said it’s inevitable that work topics arise outside of 9-to-5, but it’s to be expected. No one ever said running a small business was easy, but each of the women handle it with ease. “Work talk is heavily sprinkled into nearly all of our conversations, but it’s our livelihood and we both enjoy it,” Richardson said. We’re pretty good at disconnecting from work, too. Steph is an avid tennis player and I have a hand in house-flipping – and then there’s our four awesome dogs – so we have plenty of distractions to keep us sane.
“In terms of how running the businesses together affects our lives, yes, it’s definitely hard work,” Richardson continued. “It’s important to help each other stay balanced. We both feel like the structure we have now is good for our relationship.”
In Pet Butler, Richardson and Rossino found an attractive franchise opportunity that allowed them to expand their service offerings with an affordable initial investment. No conversion was required and they were able to leverage Pet Butler’s proven business platform to accelerate growth. Pet Butler is No. 1 in the “No. 2” business for thousands of clients across North America. Roughly 85 million U.S. families, or 67 percent of households, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
“Stephanie is the face of GiggyBites for sure, but my specialty is more about management and coordination,” Richardson said. “Pet Butler is perfect for that because it’s new and even though it’s a franchise with a head start, we’re building it from the ground up. As small-business owners, we have received lots of support from the gay community, which is historically very good at endorsing gay-owned businesses.”
Pet Butler Franchise was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of +43 years old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 25 states with long term plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years. Pet Butler provides an opportunity for pet lovers to turn their passion for pets into a business. To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit www.petbutler.com and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. To inquire about a franchise, call 844-777-8608 or go to www.petbutlerfranchise.com.
Rhonda Sanderson is an expert and author in franchising and is the founder of Sanderson PR and #FranchiseStars. Reach her @SandersonPR