Robby and Amy Liles with Max, left, and Mini
Max and Mini make quite the appliance store pair
By Andy Kriege, YSN
Max and Mini are the unofficial mascots of BrandSource member Hamilton Appliance, located just outside Memphis in Bartlett, Tenn.
The business is owned and operated by husband-and-wife partners Amy and Robby Liles, who rescued the pups when they were just two months old and have been bringing them to work ever since.
Fast-forward five years, and the pair are so used to the everyday routine of going to the store that Sundays prove confusing for them, Amy Liles said.
“Instead of getting in my car to go to work, our entire family leaves without them for a few hours,” she said. “We know they are anxiously awaiting our return, as we see both their heads peeking out the window when we get back.”
Mini is the more outgoing of the two canines. She will unabashedly interrupt a demonstration of a new appliance to see if the conversation might involve her. “Sometimes, when I’m trying to show a customer an appliance, she’ll start whining because she figures the customer really came in here to give her some attention and a possibly a treat,” Liles said.
Whereas Mini is gregarious, Max is more aloof. “He wants to get to know people, but he’s a bit reserved at first,” Liles said. “The quickest way to his heart is to shake the treat jar. That sound wakes him immediately and he’ll leap up to find the source. He begins to trust people after they reward him.”
Besides treats, the Lileses are also experimenting with a fun gadget to get the dogs to engage with guests. “We’ve been trying to teach them to press a Talking Pet conversation button that says ‘Welcome’ when customers enter the store. It’s still a work in progress,” she said, “but it’s been fun.”
Both pets are free to roam about the store but can be confined when necessary. “We can keep them behind the desk if a customer isn’t comfortable with them,” she said. “I’d say about 98% of people love the dogs. They think it’s great that we bring them to the store.”
Max also earned his stripes by making Liles feel safer at work. “Our old location wasn’t in a good part of town,” she said, “and he let me know if he didn’t like someone unscrupulous hanging around.”
Liles encourages others to consider bringing their furry friends to work if practical and if the pooch is well trained. “If you are allowed, and your dog gets along well with others, absolutely do it,” she said. “Our dogs are almost always with us, and I really believe that’s the reason they are so well behaved.
“My dogs are just as much a part of that store as I am,” she added. “We have customers that stop by just to see them. We get compliments all the time about how beautiful and well-behaved they are.”
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BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.