Who is Dr Stacie Lipinski?
Rapid Fire Q + A with Doctor Stacie Lipinki
What’s your background?
After Vet School, I took a residency opportunity in Pennsylvania. I’ve always had an interest in this business, but before taking the giant leap into ownership, I wanted to make sure I had a solid foundation. To me, this meant years of strong vet experience + education from a variety of owners and clinics. I had 17 years of experience as a vet before opening my own place. I wanted to take in all the best and worst practices from different places so I knew exactly what I wanted mine to be one day.
I also went to business school because I wanted to make sure I did everything the right way, no leaks anywhere operationally.
While living in Pennsylvania, I heard about South Tampa Pet Resort closing. My parents have lived in Florida for a while, and I always knew I wanted to end up here, but this was just the perfect opportunity. I had looked at many different options of buying an existing practice before making the decision to come here. Now I can say I have roots in Florida for good!
Was there a clinic you worked at that stood out to you?
Yes, Hope Veterinary Services in Pennsylvania. They truly embody what it means to care for pets and their owners the right way. I was very lucky to spend time learning there.
So, what did you learn from the “bad” ones?
I noticed a very high turnover rate for all levels of employees. I knew I wanted to create a steady home for all my employees. I wanted to create a place free from gossip and drama, where the employees are cared for and in turn have all the tools they need to care for the pets.
What was your "ah-ha" moment, when you realized you were, in fact, getting into Veterinary + Pet Care business ownership?
The day of realization was so surreal, I just couldn't believe it was finally happening, but at the same time, it felt so meant to be. I don't remember the last time I was that happy and proud. All of my hard work paid off, it was exhilarating. I wanted to hire a plane to skywrite "Kokoro is happening!"
How have things been for the last couple months since the transition?
Oh, it's been exciting. Renovations on the Veterinary Center are full steam ahead. Minor hiccups, which everyone tells me is normal. I'm learning a lot about engineering, and how that works with the architecture, and so on. It's so frustrating on a daily basis because I want to have the Vet Center operational today, but then I meet with the interior designer and I'm reminded about how passionate these people are about what they do. I love cats and dogs, they love figuring out where the walls and wires and rooms should go. I didn't realize how much I take for granted within my own practice, knowing what I do about Veterinary medicine. These people are working so hard to make my dreams a reality, and I am so grateful.
What has been hard for you?
It took me 20 years to get here, and I'm still learning. Each day, something pops up operationally that is in some way new to me. I have to be flexible and just figure it out. I'm learning about the history of this location. Every day, I am working to get the message across that I haven nothing to do with past experiences. I moved here from Pennsylvania because I love taking care of people's pets. I want to promote health and well being of all animals in our care, and through that, make their parents lives easier.
So what about the past issues that took place in this building?
I can't explain the past, I can only tell you that the previous business closed and I had nothing to do with South Tampa Pet Resort. I decided to start a new business that just happens to be in this building.
What's been the reaction to the changes so far?
People are very happy when they learn that there is a Certified Veterinarian on site now. They're excited to have a one-stop-shop for their dog once the Vet Center is open. But trust is earned, and the only way to earn people's trust is to ask for a chance and show them what a good job we do.
It's also reassuring that other business owners have reached out to me to say they've been through this before, hang in there, you will change this place for the better, etc- they've been so supportive.
Tell us about the Grand Opening!
I cannot wait to see all the puzzle pieces come together. We have food, drinks, games, art, and more. All our team members are working on individual pieces to make this place better and I feel like that day will be a great chance to show it all off. I'm really hoping for a huge turnout - come with your friends! Saturday February 23 from 11-4.