The owners of Dog Krazy Inc, a Virginia-based company with a store in the Village at Leesburg, have gifted a long-time employee with a special surprise — ownership of the store.
Nancy and Chris Guinn knew that their employee, Cindy Samartino, had a lifelong dream to own a pet store.
The company has seven locations and is based in the Fredericksburg area. However, they were on the verge of closing the Leesburg shop due to the long commute from their home.
But the Guinns had a thought: why not give ownership of the store to Samartino, who has been managing the Leesburg location and doing a great job. So they presented her with the idea, which would mean turning over everything in the store with an estimated value of $500,000.
Samartino said she was blown away by the offer. After considering it with her husband, Tom, who is a disabled and retired U.S. Marine, they decided to accept the gracious offer. They will officially take over ownership beginning Jan. 1 and change the store’s name to Wigglebutts and Whiskers.
“We are giving her everything in the store,” Nancy Guinn said. “We are so excited that she will take it over and we want her to be successful.”
Samartino has always been an animal lover and her family includes two cats and two English bulldogs.
She said she has enjoyed working in Leesburg and is excited to continue the store’s community-oriented values.
While much of the operation will remain the same, including continuing with popular retail products, as well as grooming, the in-house bakery, and self-wash stations. Her future plans include expanding the cat section in the store, she said.
“She has been there for us through thick and thin,” Nancy Guinn said. “To give someone their dream, there’s nothing [that can] replace that. She’s such a wonderful person.”
Samartino says she will be forever grateful for the opportunities the Guinns have given her.
“I can’t explain how much they mean to me,” she said. “They are the most generous people and this is the kind of thing they do.”