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Sunday, November 29, 2009
 
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Staff photo: Dawn Benko
Cat Chalet owner Susan Mohr pets one of the guests in a cat condo.

CAT CHALET

TYPE OF BUSINESS:   Boarding facility for cats
OWNERS:   Susan and Greg Mohr
ADDRESS:   551 Route 10 East, Randolph
TELEPHONE NUMBER:   973-989-6160
WEB SITE:   www.catchalet.com
HOURS OF OPERATION:   9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday; 9 to 10 a.m. Sunday; closed holidays
FOUNDED: May 17, 2002


Her clients purr their approval


Why did you start the business?
Susan Mohr:   I raised Persian cats for 15 years and found it hard to go on vacation because I couldn't find a place that catered specifically to cats. I wanted to start a place that I would use myself. I needed it clean, spacious and staffed by caring individuals who really took care of my cats. When one of my cats was at the vet, he had to stay in a cage over a large dog that barked the whole time. When I picked him up, he didn't recognize me and tried to bite me. He was so terrorized. I didn't want that to happen to anyone else.


If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
I would have more condos and more space to take more cats. Just like with a house, everyone wants more square feet.

What's the best business advice your parents gave?
Be persistent and never give up. I had to get a variance for the property to put in a cat kennel, and it took a long time and was very expensive. I never once thought of giving up and doing something else.

What personality trait helps you the most?
Patience. The clients treat their cats like royalty, and we have to adapt to each person's wishes to keep everyone happy. Sometimes it takes cats a long time to trust us or eat, and we need to be patient and work with them to get them purring.

What's the hardest part of the job?
Having a home business, balancing the time between work and home life can be tough. Clients may need to check in and out at times when we are closed. Yes, I am here; however, I am raising a family with two small boys, and it's not always easy to juggle my time. I try so hard to be flexible with my work hours, but my family has to be taken care of, too.

The easiest?
Gaining the trust of my customers to take care of their pets because I love cats. It comes easy and people can see it.

What's your least expensive product or service?
We have a simple pricing strategy $18 per night for one cat, $28 per night for two cats together from the same family and $36 per night for two cats in two condos.

The most expensive?
We don't have expensive packages like the other larger kennels. We will give your cat extra attention and let your cat out of the condo for fun without additional fees.

Describe your most unusual customer, job or work experience.
A customer going on vacation knew her cat was dying, but she couldn't put him down, so she boarded him with us. While he was here, he took a turn for the worse, and I called her to make the decision. I took the cat to her vet, and we had him put down. She was very happy that I personally took care of the situation and made the decision with her.

If and when you leave the business, what will you do?
I plan to retire after the kennel. I hope I can stay healthy and keep it open for a few more decades.

In one sentence, tell us why cat owners should come to you.
You treat your cat like royalty, and so do we.



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