Entrepreneur of the Year – Rick Preuss, Preuss Pets
As the son of a pet shop owner in the small rural town of Cambridge Springs, Penn., Rick Preuss was the coolest kid he knew growing up. Who wouldn’t be envious of the kid with all of the pets? Little did he know, the company owned by his mother would one day be his and the compassion she had imbued him with would one day act as the foundation of a lifelong passion for animals and people unlike any other. It’s that very same gift that has come full circle as a defining attribute of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year recipient.
Preuss Pets, which sits at the corner of North Cedar St. of Lansing’s Old Town district, is a regional customer service pioneer, industry leader and simply the embodiment of what’s possible when a genuine approach is taken to blending business and community. With an unrelenting commitment to being more than just a store, Preuss Pets is rather a community center for education and personal enrichment, above all else. In doing so, Preuss aims to redefine what expectations a consumer should have for Lansing businesses.
“We measure our success by the difference that we make. We could be a big box business that provides what people need and be a store with 5,000 square feet, or we can help people expand their expectations and horizons by leading them in a way they feel comfortable with,” said Preuss. “If we don’t take the lead, people won’t realize the potential they have. When our customers leave the store, they should feel enriched, and their relationship with their pet should be enriched – that’s our mission. The big challenge is to do that while remaining economically stable.”