Small Business Profile: Pet Pangaea Thrives On Helping Pets Stay Healthy, Happy And Safe

Cyndi Wells behind the counter at Pet Pangaea. Photo by Chris Clark/ladailypost.com

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday and an opportunity for the community to show its support by visiting and shopping at local businesses.

Pet Pangaea LLC owner Cyndi Wells moved to Los Alamos in early 2000, after finishing her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin.

She explained she chose to move from Austin, Texas to Los Alamos because, “Los Alamos intrigued me. I grew up in the Midwest and always loved the beauty of New Mexico. As an undergraduate, I double majored in chemistry and Japanese; I thrive on challenge. My mother is from Germany and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She instilled a deep love for this country in me. So, the difficult scientific problems that were being tackled at LANL for the government felt like a perfect fit for a career.

“I was also a triathlete and I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy training. I had also adopted a dog during graduate school. Los Alamos felt like home when I first visited for an interview: I could do interesting science for my country, have a great place to train, and enjoy the outdoors with my dog. So, when the job offer came from LANL, I happily accepted.”

Still, in 2008, Wells’ career took a total transformation. She left being a LANL employee to become a small business owner. Her business, Pet Pangaea LLC, had been open since 2005 but Wells decided three years later to make it her sole occupation.

“I want to thank the community for supporting the store for over a decade,!” Wells said. “The doors to Pet Pangaea LLC opened on Feb. 19, 2005. After the only existing pet store in the county closed its doors in late 2004, I thought that Los Alamos community deserved a place to buy quality supplies at good prices from experts who really love pets. I had a couple of part-time employees at the start and I worked all the nights and weekends at the store. As the store grew busier and my work hours skyrocketed, I had to make a choice. I left the Lab in 2008. The challenges at the Lab are different than those at a small business, but small business has no shortage of big challenges.”

Despite whatever challenges appear, Wells said she appreciates the opportunity to serve the community and its pets.

“Having the opportunity to help clients ensure that their pets are healthy, happy, and safe is truly a privilege. And, we respect this responsibility because pets are family members: we work hard to bring in the best products available in the pet industry and are always learning,” she said.

She welcomes anyone with pet-related questions to come by the store.

“Do you have any pet supplies-related questions? Visit us! We are part of the community and happy to help. Our Pet Specialists get three-four months of full-time training before they even step on the  store floor, learning about a wide range of topics from deciphering pet food labels to pet nutrition to horse anatomy to proper aquarium maintenance,” Well said.

Wells’ team consists of two full-time employees and fourpart-time employees.

“We have four adopted turtles who supervise all of us,” she said. “Right now, we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the newest team member. This team member is getting extensive training right now and, with his perfect recall, will be able to help both clients and employees. Pet Pangaea is expanding the horizons of retail and technology with this latest “hire”- a robot! Right now, we are working with a company to complete his coding, specific for our store. This has been such a fun project, combining my passion for pets with my retail geek and technology side. But, don’t worry! Retail robots will not replace all the people. Pet Pangaea is always looking for great people who want to build a career in a growing company. Applications for available positions can be found at www.petpangaea.com.”

Pet Pangaea LLC is at 158 Central Park Square and open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Mondays. The store can be reached at 505.661.1010.

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