As a child, Lisa quickly realized her parents were more likely to let her keep the stray and injured animals she always seemed to find if she just brought them home, instead of asking permission first.
Her career began in finance, but it didn’t take long before things went to the dogs… and cats.
In 2008, after losing two precious cats to illness, Lisa took a closer look at what was in the food she was feeding her pets day in and day out. “I was shocked. The ingredient lists were filled with items I couldn’t pronounce and things I certainly wouldn’t eat myself. I knew immediately that I wanted to do something about it.” says Lisa Senafe who to this day analyzes every brand of food and treats that enter her stores so that the consumer knows they can walk into Bentley’s Pet Stuff or shop online and the food promise is there.
Bentley, a Belgian malinois/chow mix is the namesake of the Bentley’s Pet Stuff locations and a big inspiration along with their two cats Oregano and Spice.
The company expanded and Senafe’s husband, Giovanni joined her to focus on Bentley’s.
Growth wasn’t always easy. The couple moved eight times in nine years so they could afford to maintain the business. After opening store number eight, they were fortunate to woo investor Marcus Lemonis aka The Profit, a valued ally and mentor.
As the company blossomed so did her family. Lisa and Giovanni were delighted to adopt two sons, first Sebastian, then Miles. Truly a family business, the boys now accompany mom and dad to Bentley’s stores around the country whenever possible.
Running a business that does good as it does well is essential to Lisa, so Bentley’s provides all full-time employees with 16 paid hours per year to volunteer with the local charity of their choosing (eight hours for part-time employees). Bentley’s has donated several thousands in monetary and in-kind donations to children’s and animal welfare organizations in the communities Bentley’s serves, and that number continues to grow every month.
Today, the company has expanded to 92 stores in 10 states and an e-commerce website. In 2018, it received commendation as the Best Overall Pet Retailer 2018 in the U.S. by Pet Business Magazine at the Global Pet Expo. The core values and commitment to quality remain the same as when Lisa founded Bentley’s 10 years ago.