Stacey Gysbers and Nicola Cylka met while working at Home Hardware and a shared love of animals pushed them to open their own pet store.
Happy Tails officially opened its doors last month, offering a wide range of food and feed for pets of all shapes and sizes, a multitude of accessories, small animals such as rabbits, hamsters and fish and an attached grooming facility called K-9 Shine that’s run by Brittney Imler.
Gysbers, originally from Winnipeg, moved to Golden after first discovering the town on a vacation. She has spent much of her working life in the pet industry, having volunteered at Pet Land when she was just 11 years old.
She became an animal lover at an even younger age.
“I got on a horse when I was three years old and didn’t get off,” Gysbers said.
Now Gysbers has a horse, a cow, three dogs, two cats and 14 chickens at her home.
“And possibly a new bunny…my daughter fell in love with one of the bunnies,” she laughed.
Cylka had a wide range of pets while growing up in Ireland.
“We always had pets growing up, cats, dogs, hamsters, fish, mice…and (now) I have just my two dogs,” she said.
Cylka has a background as a veterinary technician and has also worked as a groomer before that.
“We’ve both worked in the animal industry for a long time,” she said.
The two entrepreneurs hope to offer Golden’s pet owners quality service as well as quality products. Given their experience and because they are both longtime pet owners themselves, they feel they can offer a level of expertise that might not be present at larger chain pet stores.
“We are not trying to sell people what they don’t want and don’t need. We want to give them the best we possibly can and sell them what they need,” Cylka said.
“We’re not going to sell them something that we know they aren’t going to use,” Gysbers added.
The pair also hopes that they can expand Happy Tails in the future. One of the reasons they chose their current location on 10th Avenue South is because there is room for that expansion and they anticipate opening a doggy day care/boarding facility by the spring.
While they’ve only been open for a few weeks, both Gysbers and Cylka say they’ve already felt a warm welcome from Golden’s many pet owners.
“The town has given us an amazing response,” Gysbers said.
“Everybody has been coming in and saying this is great, (they) can walk here…and I’ve met so many people,” Cylka said.
“Everybody loves to talk about their pets.”