Business Buddies: Pepper the Assistant Manager

Pepper the Pomeranian has been part of Lisa Fletcher’s family for about a decade, and even if she primarily rests behind the counter of Fletcher’s Homemade in downtown Elizabethton, she is still an active part of the business’s interactions with the community.

Fletcher said she met Pepper after taking care of a puppy rescue when she lived in Washington state.

“I found a dog that was scared and lost,” Fletcher said. “I thought it was going to get run over.”

After a week of making sure the dog was taken care of, she said she started seeing posters for it, but she was sad to lose the canine companion.

“I said I needed to get a dog,” she said.

That was where Pepper came into the picture in 2009. Quiet and a little shy, Pepper normally spends her day under the counter of her owner’s quilt store at 510 East Elk Avenue, though she does respond to some of the more regular customers or family members who stop by.

“We have lunch together,” Fletcher said. “She clearly wants to be with me.”

Fletcher described her as a close companion, a kind of assistant manager who keeps her company during her working hours.

She also serves as an excuse to get outside, where Fletcher will take her on almost daily walks throughout downtown. It is during these walks where Fletcher says she interacts with various members of the community.

Pepper is not the only furry employee at Fletcher’s Homemade, however. Along with Pepper are cats Pedro and Jesusia (pronounced hey-zeus-a), both of whom are rescue kittens she saved from the streets.

“I do not know how someone can see an animal in need and walk away,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said she grew up in Hampton, and her neighbor always had cats and dogs left on the streets.

Her pets all have potential job openings at the store, though she said Pedro has proven to be a challenge.

“Pedro is too animated to be downstairs,” she said.

For those she knows and loves, however, Fletcher said Pepper is warm and welcoming, helping provide a welcoming atmosphere for their daily customers.

Business Buddies is an ongoing weekly series of profile pieces dedicated to the pet companions of various business owners in Elizabethton and Carter County. If you know any business owners whose pets hang out or work at the store, call us at 423-542-4151 and ask for the news desk, or send us an e-mail at amber.wadovick@elizabethton.com.

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