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After retiring from their corporate jobs two years ago, John and JeenAnn Carrigan choose not to rest on their laurels. Rather they decided to pursue their dream of opening and operating a pet boarding and grooming business, an endeavor that requires them to work even harder than they did before they retired. 13-hour days, 334 days a year to be exact.

In May 2009, after cashing in 401(k)s and retirement savings, they opened Ms C’s Bed & Biscuits in Lenoir City, Tenn. They even built a new house on the premise to be close to the animals.

They chose to open a new business during the Great Recession when many business owners were having trouble keeping their head above waters. During the construction phase, JeanAnn was the only one retired as John still had his information technology job which the couple thought of as a cushion in case anything went wrong. However this safety net fell through when he lost his job after the company closed its doors.

Rather than find another job, John decided to finish constructing the business himself. He laid tiles, painted, built kennels and got the business ready to open. This proved to be a good decision as an influx of people began looking for IT jobs after more companies in the surrounding area closed down as well.

Due to all of the hard work of John and JeenAnn, Ms C’s Bed & Biscuits is thriving with 20-25 animals usually staying at the business during the week and 50 staying on weekends.

John said customers can see their passion for animals and they provide an all-inclusive experience where pets get everything they might need — medication administration, special food preparation and extra love — all for the same price. Neither one of them miss the corporate world despite the weekends, paid vacations and financial stability it provided. Rather they seem content to trade all that in for the passion and love that they have for their current business.

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