Peggy and George Beebe are new owners of Pawkis

George and Peggy Beebe have been dedicated members of the Orcas community – from their home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

The couple has been visiting the island multiple times a year for the past decade. Any time a local concert or festival caught their eye, they’d hop in their car and make the seven-hour drive to Orcas Island.

“We’ve stayed at just about every inn, hotel, B&B and vacation rental on the island – even a goat farm,” laughed Peggy.

Now the Beebes are official residents of the place they’ve longed to call home as well as new owners of Pawkis for Pets at 199 Main St. in Eastsound. Jeff and Deb Hanson ran the business for 11 years and turned over the reins on Oct. 15.

Peggy and George first visited Orcas for their one-year wedding anniversary 10 years ago. They stayed in Deer Harbor, and listened to a Music in the Park concert with Grace McCune and Martin Lund.

“Once we heard them, we were hooked. We didn’t have anything like that back at home,” George said.

From that first fateful trip, the Beebes began calling Orcas home in their hearts. They subscribed to the Islands’ Sounder and planned all future excursions around local events like the farmers market, plays, church events and concerts, particularly by McCune.

“Every time we saw something happening, we’d come visit,” George said.

Back in Couer d’Alene, Peggy worked in corporate customer service and George ran his own carpet cleaning business. Moving to the San Juans was always in the back of their minds, but seemed like a far-away dream.

When George first broached the topic of buying a pet store that was for sale, his wife laughed at him.

“But the more we talked about it, the more real it became,” Peggy said.

They plan to keep Pawkis mainly the same, with its usual inventory of food, treats, supplements, toys and various pet supplies. Eventually, their plan is to expand the store into the next door space. Stacy Dow’s monthly animal clinic “Nails and Tails,” held on the first Friday of each month, will also continue. The next one is slated for Nov. 2.

While the Beebes currently don’t have any furry critters at home (their golden retriever passed away recently), they have many grand-pets. Peggy and George have five children and three grandchildren.

Their first few weeks as islanders have been a whirlwind of happiness.

“People have been so welcoming,” Peggy said. “They’ve been coming in just to say hello. We’ve also met a lot of pets!”