Honoring 30 years of service!
Mister Feed has been the go-to store for pet owners in Western Pennsylvania for 30 years, selling everything from koi food to horse feed. Shannon Capolupo worked there as a teenager when her father, David Herchenroether, opened its original location in Cheswick. A large part of his business was supplying feed to area zoos and aviaries, so he kept an impressive inventory for a wide range of species.
“I mean, crocodiles and anteaters and everything in between,” Capolupo recalls. “If he didn’t have it, he would get it.”
Herchenroether also ran a tight ship, never sat still and worked hard to earn every customer’s trust.
“To work for him wasn’t easy,” Capolupo says with a laugh. “But he had a great customer base, and people respected him. We still have a lot of loyal customers because of my dad.”
When Herchenroether passed away, Capolupo quit her job as an elementary school teacher to assume management of Mister Feed in Cabot, where it’s been located the past 20 years. That was five years ago, and Capolupo quickly realized getting up to speed on her dad’s business would be quite the task.
“He kept everything in his head,” she says. “He didn’t share anything business-wise with anybody. He was very old-fashioned. He knew customer orders to the penny, but he didn’t use electronics. He had an old cash register with old buttons.”
Capolupo leaned on the store’s longtime employees to learn the business and keep things going. Most of the current employees have worked at Mister Feed a decade or more, she says.
“They got me through it,” she says. “We’re a tight-knit family business.”
Today, the store sells a tractor trailer load of Blue Seal every few weeks, mostly equine feed but other species too. People are as loyal to Blue Seal as they are to Mister Feed, Capolupo says. “They like the results their animals get from it. And they’ll come all the way here specifically for it.”
Mister Feed now has a register that uses an iPad for checkouts, bookkeeping that’s computerized and, finally, a website and Facebook page. But Capolupo says her dad’s fingerprints are still everywhere around the store – for customers and employees alike.
“When something comes up, we all say, ‘What would Dave do?’ And then we keep on going, just like he would.”