Husband and wife duo, Serge Ouattara and Carol Ellis, found opportunity where most people just saw worry. Large amounts of dog food imported from China were suddenly being recalled and concerned pet owners no longer knew which companies to trust. Serge, a chef by trade, started cooking food for the couple’s two dogs and they suddenly realized the opportunity for a business to provide safe and healthy choices for more pets than just their own. After consulting with SCORE mentors and developing a realistic plan of action, Tré Bone, a specialty pet store, was soon born in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland.
In their second year, the sales at Tré Bone grew to be 50% higher than the previous year. In early 2012, thanks to the success of the first location, Tré Bone was able to open a second location in the Hillsdale neighborhood of Portland.
As they were just starting out, Serge and Carol met with SCORE mentor Robert Lee who offered priceless advice on creating a realistic business plan that would give both owners a clear view of the feasibility of their idea. Once it had opened, the team’s meetings moved to the store location where they had discussions about optimal merchandising and lighting inside the actual space.
Read more about how mentor Bob Lee helped this duo succeed despite the end of their marriage in the Business Journal.
Serge reflects on SCORE's impact saying, “SCORE helped me create a realistic business plan for the business I was totally new to.”