From Founder to CEO: Retail

Client Story


An iconic local pet store improves operational efficiency

Preparing for the next phase of business growth.

Salty’s Pet Supply, Fang! and Three Paws are a family of Portland area neighborhood stores that provide customers with a variety of affordable pet supplies, including food, toys and accessories for cats, dogs, birds and other small animals. The customer experience is the most important part of the business to the owner, Nancy Fedelem. She has created an in-store experience that highlights the staff’s experience and attention to the needs of pets that keeps customers coming back.

Since opening the doors in 2005, Nancy has built a business with care and attention to detail and it was time to transition from the founder/owner to the role of CEO. In this change, the day to day operations are transitioned to other team members and higher-level CEO functions are taken on by the business owner. Off Road identified several obstacles that stood in the way of achieving this transition including a clear vision and strategic long term plan.

“Moving to the CEO role means hiring people better than you in every role.”


Clearly defining the roles of each employee within the company ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal and knows their part in achieving that goal. Off Road worked with Salty’s to create an Accountability Chart in the present time and looking into the future so that team members could see where their roles would shift over time. Gaps were determined through this process where employees or roles were needed within the company. Just as important, the role of CEO was defined in the new context and a strategic plan for transition was made to include these newly aligned roles.

Leadership coaching was a key ingredient for the successful implementation of this transition plan. Off Road worked with Nancy through one-on-one coaching sessions with managers and other critical team members. Areas of leadership coaching included increasing employee engagement, managing employee discipline techniques, HR documentation practices, and ways to support employees in their own career growth and development.


Over a 6 month period notable changes were made within the company’s culture and morale – including a more cohesive workplace environment, better understanding of roles and responsibilities, equitable workplace expectations and better decision making processes. As a result of these changes, the Founder turned CEO is able to focus on other areas of the business including marketing and sales growth, community engagement and support, and enjoying the business in a new light.

Nancy Fedelem's dog, Parker, sits outside Salty's.
Nancy Fedelem's dog, Parker, sits outside Salty's.

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