Boutique Owner Risks it all to Pursue Passion

Trish Bennett always knew pet care was one of her true callings

By Melissa Oyler

Trish Bennett can clearly place the pivotal moment, the phone call that changed her world as a business owner. Until recently, Bennett was the owner of Doll.-a boutique in Myers Park. Everything was going perfectly. The store was doing well; it had been open for four years and it had a solid client base. The community had come to rely on Bennett for West Coast-inspired fashion and athletic wear. The store was both people and dog-friendly, with water and treats always available for the canine guests. Then in April, Bennett’s landlord called her with an opportunity. “The landlord said ‘We actually have someone who is interested in taking your space over,’” Bennett said, “‘But we need you to leave in this amount of time.’” Bennett’s heart instantly told her it was time to move on, to pursue a deeper passion. “This was a moment I was not going to get again.” Some would call that true empowerment: knowing when to walk away. It was a sign, Bennett felt. “The fashion thing was kind of like a hobby,” she said. “Whenever you start to fall out of love with something or you stop enjoying it as much, it’s time to quit. The store was not bringing me joy anymore.” Of course, Bennett felt a little sadness with her decision to move on. “Doll was my identity for four years,” she said. After she and her husband discussed closing Doll in detail, a decision was made and the couple headed out to a pre-scheduled vacation in Mexico. “I wasn’t stressed out like I normally am when I used to leave,” she said. Two days after returning from their trip, Bennett made the announcement that the store was closing. “It was bittersweet, but definitely the right decision and I have no regrets.”

Happy woman walking three small dogs.

From Hobby to Passion

And while she has always enjoyed the fashion world, Bennett’s true passion lies with fitness and dogs. In fact, Bennett enjoys her travels to Mexico, but she does not do Mexico like the average vacationer: On three different visits, she has come home with three different rescue dogs. Rita, a chihuahua, was adopted from Playa del Carmen; Rigo, a terrier mix was adopted from Tierra de Animales – a shelter outside of Cancún that is owned by Bennett’s friend Ricardo Pimentel; and Chi-Chi, a chihuahua mix. Bennett did not set out to adopt dogs on vacation, but somehow, each time, the dogs found her. So the decision to open Three Amigos Pet Care (named after her dogs, of course) comes as no surprise to those that know Bennett. Doll client and podcast host Nesha Pai reminisced with Bennett recently during the filming of a Piece of the Pai episode. “There was a lot of sadness from your regulars and people like me,” Pai said about Doll’s closing. “But I saw the other side, too, where I saw your life was being robbed and your joy was going away. I supported you 100 percent.” “You have this entrepreneurial spirit, and I knew you were going to come out with something bigger and better,” Pai said. Three Amigos Pet Care is right up Bennett’s alley. Aside from pets, her other passion is exercise. The two will go handin- hand in her new venture. “I basically have done everything under the sun from Barre to boot camp. I run a lot and have been strength training, so I think that will be helpful with walking dogs of all sizes!” Bennett said. Three Amigos is based in Ballantyne/ South Charlotte area and will serve that part of town and beyond. “I spend time getting to know the client and pets and their routines. My first client wanted someone to be with their dog throughout the evening, so we went for walks and gave the dog lots of love while the owner was away,” Bennett said. “I’m very excited because I will be spending time with animals.”

‘So Inspired and Excited’

Tycoon Companies is helping Three Amigos Pet Care get started in the pet care industry; Tycoon owner Ellen Peterson said she was struck by Bennett’s motto of trusting joy as a guide. “For four years, she built a successful business with a physical location, customers, a family of people that like you, and to say, ‘Nope, this isn’t fulfilling me,’” and to walk away from that — I just love the idea of being able to say ‘You know what? This is my industry du jour.’” “She’s so inspired and excited,” Peterson said. Pai asked Bennett what advice she would give someone thinking of opening a boutique. “Make sure it is your passion,” Bennett said, “if you’re going to open up any business whatsoever.”

Tycoon Companies: www.tycooncompanies.com

Three Amigos Pet Care: www.facebook.com/threeamigospetcare

Melissa Oyler: melissaoyler.com

John Ryan Flaherty: www.facebook.com/johnryanflaherty

Piece of the Pai: www.stitcher.com/podcast/nesha-pai/piece-of-the-pai