Christine Lizotte is the owner of Take A Paws pet boutique at 221 NM 165 in the Homestead Village shopping center. Amy Byres photo.

(This is another article in a series by staff writer Amy Byres, who will be checking in on local businesses to see how they are faring during the pandemic.)

Placitas — There was no pause for the Take A Paws pet boutique owner, who opened last year during the pandemic.

Christine Lizotte opened her shop in early October with a passion to hand-make all-natural treats for pets. The shop offers U.S.A.-made toys and products such as leashes and collars from local businesses.

“It has been going well. I would say at the end of last year, it was going really well, but now with COVID continuing to extend, I am probably not seeing as many people come into the shop just because they are not out and about, but all positive feedback and returning customers,” she said.

Lizotte served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. Afterward, she entered the corporate world, working for Disney and Presbyterian Hospital. The shop has allowed her to connect more deeply with the community, she said.

“As far community, and as far as what my vision is, it is coming together and I am really excited and happy about it,” Lizotte said.

At the end of last year, Lizotte nearly broke even, but had to pick up a second job with less traffic coming to Homestead Village plaza in Placitas.

Lizotte hoped to qualify for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, but could not because she opened her business after February of last year.

“I have to ride it out a little longer,” she said. “It has been a little bit slower than at the end of last quarter, and I think that is just because of the COVID because all of our businesses here have slowed, including the café. It just means people aren’t going out.”

Distributors will often require businesses to order a minimum amount to purchase products at wholesale.

“In the dog businesses, when you get to distributors, you have to have certain minimums, so right now during COVID, to align with high minimums is not the most ideal way to roll out a new product, which is a bit of a drawback. Once everyone gets their COVID shots, we will go back to a more normalized business feeling,” Lizotte said.

She wants to expand quickly but says she has to wait for the right timing. She has recently purchased a freezer to offer a line of pet food, but would like to one day create her own food line.
“I really want to go faster — you know that is for the community — but I have to gauge it where I can get the right volume to do that next phase,” she said.

Till the next phase comes, Lizotte has been working with a vet technician from the VCA Animal Hospital to offer nail trimming. Proceeds go to the Angel Fund.

The fund provides financial assistance to pet owners with animals with life-threatening medical situations or need of long-term veterinary care.

For more information about Take A Paws, call 980-1270 or visit at 221 NM 165.

Sherry Chatfield has been a Placitas resident with her dog, Biscuit, for about three years. Biscuit went to Take A Paws for a nail trim and treats. Amy Byres photo.

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Assistant Editor at Rio Rancho Observer