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12:37 PM   April 23, 2014
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How About a Little Respect



People do sometimes say the darnedest things. My husband recently attended a business association meeting with fellow Downtown Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) merchants, restaurateurs and service providers. I was unable to attend the meeting as I was spending the evening watching my youngest daughter play softball (for Team Sloppy Kisses, no less).

Pet boutique owner Melanie Dallas defends the pet industry
Anyway, when my husband came home he was shaking his head and relayed to me a conversation he had with a prominent real estate agent in the area. At one point during the conversation, the real estate agent (who, by the way, owns a dog) said something to the effect, "I can’t believe you can actually make a living doing what you’re doing.” This statement was NOT said in a complementary, "Wow, you’ve done a great job carving a niche out for yourself,” kind of way.

After some "education” (e.g., the pet industry is a $50 billion industry; there are 78 million dogs in U.S. households; the pet industry is one of the few industries to show growth throughout the economic downturn; we’ve been open six years and have two locations, if you’ve walked your dog Downtown lately you probably ran into dozens of other dogs, etc.), my husband said there was a very timid acknowledgement that maybe there is indeed enough of a market out there to be successful.

The real estate agent then went through some really obscure products that he thought would sell well in our stores. Instead of engaging in the "Not sure how your real estate business has survived the terrible housing market” discussion, my husband smiled politely and walked away and got into another conversation with a different business owner about the upcoming summer tourism season in Saratoga.

I would never in a million years question the viability of someone’s business to their face. On the contrary, I’m the biggest cheerleader when it comes to someone developing a concept, nursing it along through inception and ultimately working tirelessly for the business to succeed.

Maybe people just need a lesson on manners.

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