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Muttigans: A Thread Capital Rapid Recovery Success Story

 

The plan, Wendy Megyese says, was to move to Emerald Isle and retire, to slow down and take it easy. But she and her husband John—both retired law enforcement officers—didn’t do well with idle time.

“I got bored,” Wendy says. “My house was spotless. I needed something to do.”

So in 2016, just six months after moving to North Carolina, the couple bought a pet supply store on the island. Later that year, John came up with the idea to add a coffee shop as a way to drive additional traffic to their store. Three months later, they moved to a new location and opened what has grown into Muttigans.

“We like to say it’s dogs, coffee, beer, wine, and wifi on the beach,” Wendy says with a laugh. “Life is good.”

 

 

The 3,000-square foot building—“In my opinion, the prettiest on the island,” Wendy interjects—sits along the beach and beckons visitors to stop in and linger. Rocking chairs line a long wrap-around porch, seemingly made for the company’s motto: “Paws and enjoy life.”

Inside, the tables are often covered with classic board games like Connect Four and Battleship. Parents bring their children and wind up lost in a competitive game. “I get joy from that interaction rather than seeing them sit across from each other with their cell phones,” Wendy says. “They’re engaging with each other and that’s a big part of our mission.”

In addition to lots of tourist traffic, the Megyeses have built a base of steady regulars. “They’re walking in the door and we’re already making their drink,” Wendy says. And, for those with four-legged friends, the store remains stocked with a wide array of pet supplies, from food to leashes to treats.

The couple opened a second location, in Swansboro, in 2018—just before Hurricane Florence devastated Eastern North Carolina. “We work hard, we hustle,” Wendy says. But we’re still a baby company. The economic impact on us was pretty hard.”

Despite double-digit revenue growth, the couple’s business quickly entered the red due to the unforeseen costs of the storm. Muttigans lost fixtures and product, had damage to the ceiling and floors, and missed out on shoulder season customers. “That offseason is always hard enough,” she says. “With this added loss, it was tough.”

 

 

The couple attended a hurricane recovery resource fair at Carteret Community College and learned about Thread Capital’s Rapid Recovery loan. “It really helped us bridge that gap so we could open our doors relatively quickly, so I could pay employees.” Those employees, Wendy says, are like family. She knew they were counting on the Megyeses to pay them on time so that they could deal with their own hurricane recovery issues. 

“I never missed a payroll,” Wendy says. “That’s something I was very proud of because they’re my most important asset.”

Now, with Muttigans back open and ready for peak season, Wendy and John are looking forward to meeting new friends and seeing old ones—some with two legs, and many with four.

“We try to create a magical place,” she says.

For more information about Thread Capital’s Disaster Recovery programs, reach out to the team directly by email: connect@threadcap.org.