Locals 2012: Dave Terranova
June 29, 2012
Dave Terranova and his wife, Jodi, once dreamed of going back to school to earn degrees in veterinary science. But with a couple of kids and a mortgage, a return to campus wasn't an option. So they did the next best thing: They bought a pet supply store.
That the business purchase allowed them to move back to Steamboat Springs for good was icing on the cake.
Most local canine and feline lovers recognize Dave as the smiling face behind the counter at Paws 'N Claws 'N Things in Sundance Plaza at Fish Creek shopping center. It might seem like a far cry from his previous career in pharmaceutical sales, but Dave sees the similarities as well as the differences.
"People are happy in our store," he says. "It's nice. I was selling medicine to sick people. Now I'm selling healthy products to customers who are having fun with their animals."
And having fun is the atmosphere Dave maintains inside his store. He knows most customers — both human and pet — by name, and he takes pride in working with pet owners on solutions to whatever might ail their four-legged friends.
"Customer service is absolutely of the utmost importance to us," he says. "I try to treat customers the way I want to be treated in a store."
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The Terranovas have owned Paws 'N Claws for eight years, which might seem like an eternity for Dave, who like many young Steamboat transplants spent his first few years hopping from job to job.
After graduating from Old Dominion University in Virginia with a degree in business and finance, Dave moved to Steamboat to be a ski bum for a year. He worked at SportStalker, where he met and became friends with Jodi. But he soon returned to his home state of Delaware to begin a career in banking.
Then the Yampa Valley called him back. It wasn't long before he and Jodi became a couple. They eventually owned and operated Cody's bar at Yampa Valley Regional Airport before Dave took a job in pharmaceutical sales back in Delaware in 2000. A call from a business associate here informed them of the pet supply shop for sale, and the rest is history.
"That was the ticket back to Steamboat," he says.
When not at the store, Dave and Jodi spend most of their waking hours chasing their three children: Samantha, 14, Tyler, 13, and Anna, 10. There are weekend swim meets in the summer and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic skiing competitions in the winter. And if there's any time to spare, you can find Dave trail running on Emerald Mountain or schussing down the slopes of Mount Werner. But more than likely, you'll see him helping a customer load a 40-pound bag of dog food into the back of a Subaru.
"I love this community," Dave says. "The people are awesome and very supportive of a small business, which I'm very, very thankful for."
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