BOLINGBROOK, IL — The coronavirus pandemic has exerted extraordinary financial strain on small business, and It’s so Fluffy Pet Bakery in Bolingbrook was not immune to it. Owners Victor Huerta and Jeimy Maldonado started to witness the possible permanent closure of a store they have poured their hearts into.
“The pandemic has affected the business of the store by keeping people and their pets away,” Maldonado said. “It’s during the end of spring and summer that has people walking around, going into stores, and the concerts here that keep our business going, as people can walk in with their pets and look around with them.”
She said they have not received any assistance from the government either as they “don’t meet requirements for loans and grants.”
Since the store is family-owned, they did not have to lay off any staff members. However, in order to keep the business afloat, they started a GoFundMe page, asking donors to help pay the bills. The goal is to raise $100,000, but only $950 has been raised so far.
The owners are imploring community members to help out in any way possible. On the GoFundMe page they wrote:
“It’s a small family business with only four members that have, still, and will continue to pour time and effort into the business. It is a team effort, and we all have pitched in to make this place special for everyone and their furry family member coming into our Fluffy family. We are concerned for our small business, hoping to survive this storm with help from you, so we can keep our business going, and keep bringing smiles to owners and pets, and continue to donate to our local shelters and rescue groups. The money raised will be going to the family, helping with financial assistance, and supporting the business moving forward, as we will be paying our partners and to make ends meet.”
It’s so Fluffy Pet Bakery was started by the couple in December 2017, when they were looking to buy a cake for one of their pets, but only found a place two days later.
“That’s when we thought, maybe we should open a type of bakery for pets in Bolingbrook as not only do we live here, but it would be nice for other residents not to look or go far when they can just stay in town, and we can enjoy meeting and seeing the faces of many pets too,” Maldonado said.
The bakery boasts a substantial net of loyal customers who have been supporting it during this rough time by purchasing some of their most popular items such as peanut cookies, muffins, and birthday cakes.
“Our bacon cookies, blueberry muffins, and beef twists are also going out as we are baking them,” Maldonado said.
The bakery is open for business and is offering curbside pickup or the option of shipping items to a different state through the website. Maldonado said they are taking precautions by cleaning the store during every visit, and “putting wipes on our counter for ourselves and our customers.”
Apart from the GoFundMe page, the couple is investing in advertising through social media to let residents know they are open. She said they will also start to make birthday cakes for horses, and keep their doors open until they are forced to shut down.
“During this pandemic, many people are staying home and hanging out with their pets, adopting pets, or even just fostering them to help the shelters. Those that have furry and non-furry pets, can come into the store, buy some treats for training, and get them used to be in stores that allow pets inside,” Maldonado said. “It would be nice to keep the business open for many more years to come, here in our own home town. We need all the support from the community.”
Source: Thanks https://patch.com/illinois/bolingbrook/local-pet-bakery-needs-help-make-ends-meet-amid-pandemic