A Tale of Apes, Turkeys and Survival: The Longview Pet Shop turns 45 | Local

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The couple rebranded the shop with a new title that cleverly incorporated their last names, and they brought in more traditional pets, including puppies and kittens.

They basically started the inventory from scratch, so “we didn’t have any depth of anything,” said Ron Works, 81. “It took us two or three weeks before we had a $ 50 day (in sales).”

“Let’s put it this way: we worked really hard and our three little boys helped us,” said Joan Works, 78. “Fortunately, it was a store where the children could also work and play with the animals. And they helped throughout their school. This is how they earned their money in college. It was truly a family business. “

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 66% of small businesses fail within 10 years. About 83% before the age of 25.

The works beat those odds with a 29-year tenure as owners. And the pet store “has grown more and more successful” over time, they said. The couple’s philosophy was to educate their clients on proper pet care. They focused on children in particular and often held classes at the store or donated to youth activities.

The store made local headlines in 1993 when it parted ways with George the Monkey, a Java macaque that came with the store when they bought it. The couple sent the monkey to Simian Lodge, a non-profit organization that looks after monkeys that have been used for laboratory research or have been abandoned as pets.

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