If you follow your heart, it will lead you in the right direction – both in life and work.
That’s certainly been the case for Karima Jivraj, who has turned her love for animals into a thriving business here in the Royal City.
Jivraj opened a Bosley’s by Pet Valu at Columbia Square in 2011, and it has been growing ever since – and has led her to unique opportunities to help provide leadership and volunteering to improve the lives of animals.
“My goal from the beginning was to be the local neighbourhood go-to for pet food and supplies, but also for advice and help, to be a place where people know we care about their pets, too,” she said. “And I believe we’ve done that. We’re so grateful that people trust us, that they know they can come in and get some answers and some help.”
Jivraj had been working at UBC for many years but the urge to go out on her own, and a passion for working with animals, led to an unexpected – but perfect – chance to change her career direction with the store.
“It was really one of those moments where it was the right opportunity at the right time and the right place, and I jumped right into it,” she said, laughing. “To be honest, I dove head first. I was so excited.”
The business quickly drew loyal customers and built a great reputation, leading to significant growth.
“We’re actually looking now to renovate our space here to increase our density because we’ve grown so much,” she said.
“And ideally I’d love to have a second store in Burnaby or another in New West. This area is growing so much.” And while she’s proud of the success, it comes second to the impact she’s been able to make for animal welfare.
“One of my biggest goals was to make life better for the animals here in this community and part of that is supporting the shelter – with food, or toys, all the things that those animals might need while they wait for their new pet parents,” she said. “I wanted to make life better for the animals, to support the work they do there.” That goal extends beyond the Royal City, as well.
She’s just begun a second term serving on the board of directors for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada. “The board provides advocacy on a national level,” she said. “I’m so honoured to be on the board, with people who have more experience than me and to be able to sit with them and learn from them but also to help influence decisions.”
All in all, it’s been a life path that has proven rewarding on multiple levels.
“I love what I do here and when I know a customer is leaving here satisfied, happy that they’ve gotten good service, I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I want every customer to know they and their pets are the priority, and to want to come back here because they know they can rely on us.
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