When Pavan and Deeva Shree moved to North Texas from South Africa in 2018, Allen was a launching pad for a fruitful and prolific franchising career for the couple.
The latest endeavor is a franchised location for Mutts Cantina, which is slated to open in Watters Creek in Allen in October.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
How did you get into franchising pet-related businesses?
Pavan Shree: We actually decided in 2018 to enter the pet industry seeing the growth in the market.
[We started] our first pet business that we currently have two stores of called Earthwise Pets. One store is located in Allen in Watters Creek, and the other is in Richardson.
We came across Mutts [Cantina] because when we moved across from South Africa, we were living downtown and were looking for a pet for ourselves. We came across Mutts as a place to actually go, sit, see other dogs and also just sit out there and brainstorm ideas on the pet industry, not knowing that Mutts was actually franchising.
I got on the website and saw [a tab that said] “franchising opportunities.”
Mutts was still quite new as a franchise. They only started franchising in 2016 or 2017, so we were one of the first few groups to sign up.
PS: We came across Allen and we thought it was perfect, especially Watters Creek.
The amount of dogs in that area was surprisingly great to see, so we knew there was a need for it, especially with Allen not having an actual dog park when we signed our lease.
From your experience, how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your line of work?
PS: It was a slow process for us because we signed our lease in 2019 [and] COVID hit in 2020. We had some city delays, but everything happens for a reason, and we’re just happy to know that our doors are going to be opening next month.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
PS: Mine personally is working with my wife as not just a business partner, but it’s been the greatest achievement to work side-by-side with her and actually grow this business to where we are today. It hasn’t been easy moving across from South Africa and coming to a new country, but starting this business from the ground-up has been amazing from my side. I don’t know – Deeva, you know your proudest achievement so far?
Deeva Shree: Well I’ve never been in business before. Pavan does come from a family business background, and I actually don’t, so I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to stand by Pavan and run all these businesses together.
What brought you from South Africa to the Dallas area?
PS: We’re from a town called Durban. It’s a port hub.
I was involved in a family business that does construction and warehousing. My side of my family is actually based here in Dallas, so I’ve been personally traveling to Dallas for almost 15 years visiting family, so it was just a great opportunity.
What are your favorite local restaurants?
PS: The one thing I must point out is the great sense of community that everyone has in Allen. [They’re] very supportive of each other business-wise or even just the community itself.
Restaurant-wise, we love the small family restaurants that are in Allen. There’s a great-
DS: -I think it’s a Lebanese restaurant? Hedary’s, I think it’s called?
PS: Yeah, Hedary’s is great. There are some great chain restaurants in Watters Creek like Fish City Grill.
What are some of your go-to comfort movies and TV shows?
PS: Anything crime-related.
Tell us about your family.
PS: Funny enough, our family is growing at the moment.
DS: I’m actually in early labor right now. [laughs]
PS: So yeah, our whole family itself is growing as we speak.
I have a brother and sister that live in Dallas as well that I’m lucky to have close to me.
DS: My brother’s in Johannesburg. I just have one sibling and my parents are still back home in South Africa.
PS: And we met in college about-
DS: -12 years ago?
PS: 12 years ago, yeah!
When’s the baby due?
DS: Any day now. Maybe today. [laughs]
What do you want your legacy to be?
PS: It’s funny, I can’t seem to answer [that question]. We’re so young in this industry itself. The pet industry has always been dominated by three major players, and with the whole idea of nutritional-value food and treating your pet as an actual child right now is changing the entire dynamic of this entire industry.
Just to be someone [who is] more supportive to people who really care for their pets. At the end of the day, they are loved ones – fur babies, as people say – and we basically want to be the supportive hand that helps people who don’t know what to do in certain points when dogs aren’t well, cat’s not feeling good…
It’s hard to state a legacy we just started, but our endgame is to help people.
DS: To help people, to be truthful and be able to provide them with the correct information.
We obviously want to be successful, but we want to hold our integrity and provide people with the correct information to help them best help their pets.
PS: On Mutts’ side, it’s just a place for people to have fun where the dogs are not just left aside. You want to take your dog somewhere, but you go anywhere in Dallas, they’re just stuck under the table.
The whole idea is to have that bonding moment with your dogs.