Campaign to help Mugsy’s has plenty of teeth – Times-Herald
The late actor James Cromwell once said, “Pets become human. They remind us that we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve, nurture and care for all life.
They certainly get the message of Mugsy’s Pet Supply & Barkery in downtown Vallejo.
The pet store, located at 507 Georgia St. and owned by Lori Hee-Sellner, has fallen on hard times. Formerly known as Haute Dogs Boutique & Barkery, it was renamed in 2017 before suffering significant losses during the pandemic, some of which stemmed from a burglary. Hee-Sellner also suffered the recent loss of her father, Edward Hee.
Some nearby local businesses as well as Kerstin Svendsen tried to come to the rescue, starting a gofundme page for the pet store. By Tuesday afternoon, the site had raised $1,840.
“The store has become a staple in the community – reliable and welcoming to all,” Svendsen told gofundme. “When I saw Lori’s recent Instagram post about how hard things are lately, I asked her if I could set up a GoFundMe campaign so our community can help her. She’s helped so many of we !
Hee-Sellner appreciates the help.
“Obviously I was deeply moved when it started, but I was also very surprised,” Hee-Sellner said. “I hadn’t realized how many people liked the store and how much they liked it. I realize that it took a lot of work for Kerstin and others to get the store known. It makes me realize that a lot of people care about what I like to call our “small-big store”. Since then, I have more hope in my business. The week after the launch of the gofundme site, we had some very good deals in sales.
Decent sales haven’t always been there. When the pandemic started, Hee-Sellner started losing money. The store, deemed essential as a food vendor, remained open. The owner began providing curbside pickup services, but setting up a working website proved difficult.
Then the burglary happened.
“The person entered through the ceiling, so an alarm never went off,” Hee-Sellner said. “My dog (Boris) first felt something was wrong when we walked into the store the next day. The thief took out a lot of coins and cash from the till, and it wasn’t a lot The problem was that the damage had diminished since the thief had gone through the ceiling. The ceiling was damaged and there were shelves and cans that were damaged. The first thing I thought of when I all seen is: “It’s going to be expensive.”
A few months later, Hee-Sellner’s father died. Soon after, Svendsen decided to act.
“Over the past two and a half years, Lori has been the victim of a break-in and theft, a death in her family and unexpected business costs,” Svendsen says on the gofundme page. “Despite these challenges, she worked tirelessly – even delivering food to customers after hours – to keep the store open, her two employees paid, and the creatures of Vallejo fed, dressed and entertained. Recently, Lori had to take a second job to keep herself afloat. She gave her heart and soul to Mugsy! Let’s help get Mugsy’s 2.0 started!
Longtime customer Sarah Morris donated $50 to Mugsy’s.
“Lori was one of the first people to give my rescue pup a warm welcome after he was adopted,” Morris wrote. “She saw us and supported us through the early days of fear and uncertainty and now she joins in the joy of seeing her happy and confident. We LOVE Lori, Boris and are delighted that a concerned Mugsy friend created this campaign to show our support! Support and buy local.
Hee-Sellner, who named Mugsy’s after the first dog she picked up in 2012, said she was happy to see some downtown people helping her because she tries so hard to make herself- even his local purchases.
“I love shopping at local stores. I buy food all the time at Anchor Pantry. All my books come from the Alibi bookstore. All of my sodas and water are from Java Jax,” Hee-Sellner said. “So it’s nice to see some local businesses, not all, but some, being reciprocal. My favorite part of working in this store is seeing a customer who comes back after I’ve helped them and says our product has really helped his pet – whether it’s getting rid of stomach issues or now he’s comfortable and can go for a walk. That’s my favorite part.
To donate to Mugsy’s, www.gofundme.com/f/help-mugsys-pet-supply?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.