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From Pet Shop Owner to Innkeeper – Who Knew?

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I am a high school dropout. School just wasn’t my thing. I loved animals, I loved to read, and I loved people.

So what does a high school dropout do – opens a pet shop! At 24 years old I opened a pet shop in Pasadena Ca. Then we added a home delivery service for pet food. The pet shop and food delivery service thrived and we thought we were happy.

Soon, in conjunction with a small local pet food manufacturer, I developed several specialty pet food and pet supplies and grew the business to L.A Pet Foods a marketer of pet food and supplies. I ended up being the president of the World Wide Pet Supply Association for three years to boot!

But at 55 I decided enough was enough; I knew it was time to move on when I started to look forward to weekends! My wife and I had a dream to retire to the Sedona, AZ area. So we sold L.A Pet Foods and moved to Sedona.

I have always worked 7 days a week and I loved going to work and loved dealing with customers, I decided to get back to my what I loved - working with and serving customers. So what does a 55 year old, over the hill guy do? Build a luxury inn. Twelve rooms was just about the right size…. no middle management and it definitely had to be pet friendly!

So after 30 or more years in the pet industry we go into the hospitality industry and open El Portal Sedona Hotel. It is a pet friendly luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Sedona .

To us there was no question that an upscale, luxury inn could provide style, the best amenities and personalized concierge services for guests and their pets. The twelve room luxury inn was designed and built with painstaking attention to detail, featuring turn of the century Southwestern design, 18-inch thick handmade adobe walls, recycled wood trim and natural native stone. Each spacious room is different, but all have unique features such as museum quality Arts and Crafts furnishings, soaring beamed ceilings or hand-painted detailing. The hotel was built with wood and tile flooring throughout to accommodate canine visitors and dog friendly patio areas with some rooms.

El Portal Sedona has received AAA’s Four Diamond Hotel rating, was voted one of the top 50 small hotels in the U.S. by Coñde Nast Travelers readers and has just received the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.

The one thing we loved to do in Pasadena was go to garage sales and antique shops. Pasadena was the heart of the Mission Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the century so for 35 years we collected furnishings for our home, and as it turned out El Portal and our home in Sedona as well!

Now I’m back to working 7 days a week – and loving it!


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