You might remember that Rocco & Jezebel for Pets on Pineapple Walk was set to close with owners Andrea Demetropoulos and John Marcolini retiring. Great news for their clients and the community: Jo Batista and Steve Perez are here to save the business.
Jo worked for Andrea and John for six years and when a potential buyer fell through, Jo brought up the idea of taking over. But she knew she couldn’t do it alone and asked longtime friend Steve to be her business partner. “Steve didn’t have experience working with animals, but I knew he loved animals. And he has experience handling inventory and in business in general. He’s also very tech savvy. Steve’s someone I’ve known for years and I totally trust him. Asking him to join me is the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Asked how the first month under the new ownership has been, Jo said, “It’s been great, super busy. I’m already well-known in the community and have a good relationship with the customers. They know that I take really good care of their animals, so we’ve gotten a lot of support. Being able to take over Rocco & Jezebel has been an honor and a blessing. Andrea and John have been like parents to me and I appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Steve added, “When Covid hit, the company I worked for as a sales manager closed. So I was looking to open my own business when Jo called me. I hadn’t worked with animals, but I had pets my entire life – dogs, cats, frogs, parakeets, iguanas. I knew we’re not going to get rich doing this, but we’re best friends and we both love animals. I love this community too. It’s such a beautiful neighborhood. We can work 9, 10 hours a day and go home happy.”
Customer Nicki Calfee stopped in with her 1 ½ year old dog Daphne. “I stop in to buy food and treats, but mostly for dog care. If we need to board Daphne, this is the place we go to. Everyone here is so kind and loving to Daphne. When I leave Daphne here, I know she’s safe, happy, and well cared for. I was pretty upset when I thought they were going to close for good. There really isn’t any place like it in the area, where we can leave Daphne to get such good care.”
Another longtime customer Kelly Maina said, “We’re so thrilled that Jo and Steve are at the helm and so excited to see how they’ll build upon the Rocco & Jezebel legacy. Jo’s been taking care of our dog Banjo since he was a puppy, and she’s like family to us. Small businesses like these are the heart of the community, and it’s a joy and a relief to know we’ll continue to have a trusted neighborhood spot for all our pet’s needs.”
Let’s wish Jo and Steve the best and support our local small businesses.