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As a child, B&B Pet Stop founder Bill Trufant was so fascinated with tropical fish that when he was old enough to work, he was paid in fish for the first few years. Spring Hill College lured the Louisiana native to Mobile, and after graduating he opened his first store in 1981 in Saraland. Within a year, he moved it to Mobile to be closer to his customers.
In its 10th year, Trufant expanded the business to a 14,400-square-foot superstore on Cottage Hill Road near University Boulevard, and recruited his sisters, Sally Trufant and Mary Trufant, to join the company.
A few years ago, the expansion of big box competitors in Mobile and online sales dealt a blow to the company. The Trufant trio buckled down and made 2014 the “year of renovation,” followed by 2015, the “year of marketing.”
B&B made improvements to its store, introduced new discounts, added inventory and revamped its customer loyalty program. In addition, B&B organized a year’s worth of unique events to draw people to the store – like Extreme Ferret Races, Bunny Hop and pet photos, donating the proceeds to local rescue groups.
B&B Pet Stop has 44 employees and is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.
On Wednesday, June 8, during the Chamber’s Small Business Awards luncheon, the winner will be revealed as well as the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year, E. Grace Pilot, co-founder of Pilot Catastrophe Services.
During the Small Business conference, the Chamber will offer three valuable professional development opportunities to increase business growth. Topics include matching small businesses and potential lenders, addressing critical legal issues and engaging employees in the innovation process.
Click here to read The Business View – May 2016