Cake wasn’t the only thing drawing a crowd of supporters Saturday at the grand reopening of Out of The Cage Pet Shop at 13 E. Avenue E in Copperas Cove. The seven-month revitalization came to fruition, and owner Amanda Vaughn was beaming with delight.

With help from Central Texas College’s entrepreneurial group, Enactus, the pet shop has freshly painted ceilings, newly arranged fish tanks and a new variety of fuzzy friends.

“Since the remodel, I have definitely seen new business as well as new customers. We have gotten some prairie dogs and hedgehogs, too. And we are going to have new saltwater fish coming soon,” said Vaughn, who took over the business formerly known as Fins and Flowers in July.

David Netherwood, Enactus president, said Out of The Cage Pet Shop’s name was selected by Michelle’s Floral for a revitalization effort competition in partnership with the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation.

“David and his crew stayed here repainting the ceilings until 3 a.m. one night,” said Vaughn, pointing to the sky blue hue above. “He has been a big help and is continuing to be by overseeing and advising me.”

Netherwood said the makeover has made a difference to the pet store’s bottom line.

“Ever since we have started this project, Amanda has increased profit in her store,” he said. “We were even able to install a new point-of-sale system for her. We are excited. Now it’s time to just sit back and watch her excel.”

At the time Vaughn was taking over the business, students of Central Texas College did an internship with the Copperas Cove EDC, and Operation Step Up loaned their efforts as well. Walmart and Sam’s Club provided Out of The Cage with two grants to buy the supplies needed for the project.

College faculty, staff and students, as well as merchandising experts from Sam’s Club, volunteered their time at the store.

Out of The Cage recently paired up with the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter and is fostering dogs in need of new homes.

“For now, it is going to be just dogs. But I figure if we start there, we may be able to move on to other animals in the future,” Vaughn said.

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