July 29, 2021
Meet Kim Wagg
I'm married with 2 boys (14yr & 10yr) After being Dx’d with MS I left my career to pursue my passion for Dog Training while supplementing my income by Bartending at a local pub…only to fall in love with the place and eventually buy it.
"I’m thankful to those who said I can’t…it’s because of them that I’ve made it this far”
We had an extremely busy day yesterday at the pub hosting a large private event. It was hot and we were running, but with planning and a great team we pulled it off successfully.
Even with the hardships this past year and a half, I still feel so grateful to call this pub ours. (My sister & I).
Ten years ago, my doctors advised me to stop working, and told me my body would not withstand the demand of a physically demanding job. Well Damn, didn’t that push me even harder…I took the dreams I had back them and went even bigger…Happy to say I continue to achieve and strive for so much more.💪
I wouldn’t be able to have done it without my amazing family, friends and overall support system as well as a few things to help mitigate my MS. A big one would be my, @thermapparel cooling vest. With its four cooling packs on my back, It’s my first defence against my brutal heat sensitivity.
This exact vest was actually purchased for me a few years back as a surprise from the amazing customers of my pub…back when I was strictly a bartender because they hated seeing me struggle and didn’t want me to leave. Talk about a feel good moment.
ThermApparel (TA): It's nice to see you, it's actually nice to meet you.
Kim Wagg (KW): Nice to meet you. We've talked online a lot but nothing's face to face.
TA: We've talked online and you have sent us a couple of really amazing stories over of how the ThermApparel Cooling Vest has helped you and we've enjoyed hearing from you and listening to your stories.
KW: I've had my vest for a few years now. You guys were really in the begInnIng stages. I stIll have the original packs.
TA: We've been around for about four years now.
KW: I thInk I've had mIne my vest for at least three years.
TA: Let me give a little intro as to what we're doing. I'm Julia from ThermApparel and I'm here with Kim Wagg who is owner of The Coach and Horses Pub in Lindsay Ontario whIch is about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto and she is married with two little boys. When we're done with our Facebook Live today we'll put a link to The Coach and Horses Pub in the comment section so everybody can see your really cool pub. Welcome, we're glad you're here.
KW: Thank you for the invite.
YA: You're welcome, now after you were diagnosed with MS you left your career to pursue your passion in dog training and you also worked at a local pub, The Coach and Horses Pub, as a bartender to kind of supplement your income, tell us about that.
KW: I was in a management position for a very corporate retail company. When you have a diagnosis of MS you start reflecting on your life and what you want your future to look like and definitely a retail corporate job was not ideal for me anymore. I thought it was at the time and then I started kind of actually looking and reflecting on life. It's like, no it's not what I want.
I actually first took the job at the pub just to get something different and it was only supposed to be for one or two days a week, but I never did work one or two days, and then I had just gotten a German Shepherd puppy and I've always trained a bit on the side for family and friends. But always just a side thing and I realized that I could actually do it more for an actual income as well as I was good at it.
I started dog training quite regularly and it became quite busy but I also fell in love with the pub so I was doing both of them side by side. The pub was supplementing the bills and it was very very fun, very beneficial, exhausting but beneficial.
I had a few relapses and I was able to work with the dog training and with the pub. I was able to work with both of those companies whereas the corporate job definitely was not helpful in those senses, so that automatically helped pursue my career path of finding employers that work with people.
I started doing really well with the dog training and it got to the point where dog training and running a pub were both very physically demanding, more so with the dog training. I was kind of at the point of a precipice where I was gonna have to pick one. Either go full-time at the pub or get a facility for dog training.
Then I was presented with the option to work towards purchasing the pub with my sister because I loved the place so much. I'd say I took about two days thinking it through and then it was a no-brainer. We've owned it for a little while and then COVID hit but yeah it's been an amazing journey so far.
TA: That's so cool when did you guys purchase the pub?
KW: We officially purchased it on January 15th of 2020, so last year, yeah, we were open for 60 days and then we had to close for our first shutdown. First time in 30+ years the pub has ever shut down because we are open seven days a week so that was bittersweet.
TA: But you guys made it through and you're still going?
KW: Yeah, we got pretty tight, we have a few loans that we'll be repaying but yeah, we're pulling through. We are ready to get over the hump and I'm hopefully we are through. Because we're in Ontario we've gone through a few lockdowns and Ontario was one of the worst hit provinces in Canada for COVID. Our area has been fine throughout but we're so close to Toronto and that is the hub of COVID for the area that it is a concern.
We've shut down three times now for at least a few months each so it's been pretty different but it's made us grow actually quite a bit in the way we run the company. We've had to expand the menu and we've actually expanded into the parking lot for the patio. So yeah, it's actually been really interesting but fun and very very beneficial for learning. Especially if you think starting a new company is easy. We did not expect these circumstances with buying an established business but here we are.
TA: Let's back up a little bit, so before you bought the pub you were just a bartender and with your ms you struggle with heat sensitivity. So much so you thought you were going to have to quit being the bartender. What happens when you overheat? What is your fatigue like? How long does it take to recover?
KW: With my MS, in the past, I've been affected with paralysis on my left side and a bit of vision issues. Many times when I begin to overheat the MS can exacerbate those symptoms as well as it causes extreme fatigue.
With extreme fatigue it's like you've stayed up and haven't slept at all for over 36 hours, like my eyes will hurt, my whole body will hurt, I'll actually be limping. I have trouble moving and when you're hot you have trouble thinking so just trying to serve the public while also trying to deal with those symptoms becomes very very hard.
When I found the ThermApparel Cooling Vest I was actually saving up for it, but I was also kind of like, okay this is getting a little hard with work because we do get some hot, muggy days in the summer. I was thinking about cutting back my hours just to combat that for my own health and then not even a week later I came into the pub and the customers presented me with my very first ThermApparel Cooling Vest the UnderCool which I absolutely love. They gave me some extra cooling packs.
When I put the vest on and tried it for the first time it was like night and day. It keeps my core temperature at a level where I don't overheat. I still get warm at times, especially when it's really hot on the patio, but it's like night and day. I don't get extremely fatigued. I don't feel dragged down. It just helps significantly. It doesn't take all the heat away completely but it helps enough that I can actually do my day-to-day activities and continue bartending every single day.
TA: That's wonderful! That's amazing and so cool that your customers bought it for you. I remember when the order came through because I had gotten a phone call and they were like “well we're buying this for a friend.” and I'm like “oh that's so nice of you.” and then like three days later you had posted about it online and i'm like oh wow! That’s who got the vest.”.
KW: Yeah it was awesome! I think we were actually talking before that even happened because I was in the process of saving up for it. I was just bartending and doing the dog training and I was like “I don't spend a whole lot of money on myself.'' so when I do spend money I tend to put away twenty dollars here and there to save up. It was great and yeah it was such a big surprise.
TA: Where you able to do more shifts at the pub?
KW: Yes! I continued on full-time uh even through the summer. Then I started golfing and I absolutely love it. I'm horrible at it, but I love golfing now and I use my cooling vest on the golf course almost every single time. It is so much easier and actually I have a few of my friends that golf with me and they're like okay I need to get a cooling vest because that thing is awesome.
TA: You have the competitive advantage.
KW: Yes exactly. I never pursued any hot weather sports because I didn't think I could because of my limitations with MS. I can't do certain things physically but golf ended up being surprisingly easy for me. I never even looked at it as a sport, but it ended up being a sport that I can do and even when I'm physIcally fatigued it’s not too bad on me. With my ThermApparel Cooling Vest it's night and day I would not be able to go golfing at one in the afternoon if I didn't have it .
TA: That is wonderful. What else do you do with your vest? I mean you bartend you golf, do you do anything else?
KW: I used it to take the kids out to the park when they were younger and I actually took it earlier in the summer to go hiking through some hills. I used to wear it when I do dog traIning, but I haven't trained since last summer, but when I'm actively doing dog training outside I usually wear it. For me there's just a peace of mind that's like a security vest. If it's gonna be hot and if I'm gonna be outside I'm usually wearing it. When I am gardening I always have it on. I use it, essentially, for everything I do outside.
TA: Let me ask you this, because you have one ThermApparel Cooling Vest and one set of cooling packs.
KW: I have two sets of cooling packs, thankfully.
TA: Okay, right. You have the SlimCool Cooling Packs and they last 1-2 hours depending on what you're doing. Sometimes people ask us “well I need something that lasts four or six hours or I'm gonna go do eight hours and I'm like well the vest’s not gonna last that long for you but you can switch the packs out.” and I explain how to recharge by putting them in ice water, the fridge or freezer. How do you switch the packs out or how do you keep the vest going while you're at the pub because I'm assuming your shift is eight hours?
KW: I usually do about eight or nine hours. I actually keep the cooling vest at work in the summer and if I have to go somewhere or I need it for anything I just run over and grab it because I'm only just down the road from the pub. But I have both sets of packs at the pub. I just take it off, switch out the packs and I throw the other packs in the freezer and by the time the packs are melted the other ones are ready to go back in.
TA: Cool so you just take a quick little break.
KW: Yeah. I just switched them out. Actually a lot of the time, I have certain regular customers and as soon as they see that I'm starting to switch out the packs, if it's busy, they say “here just give it to me I'll switch them out.” They'll switch out my packs for me while I continue to work.
TA: That is so cool so it's like a big family at the pub.
KW: Yes, yes definitely a big family and they all understand what MS and my cooling vest are and if they don't they usually ask.
TA: Is there anything else that you want to tell us about your ThermApparel Cooling UnderCool Vest or what else have you done or can tell a big difference using the cooling best vs. not using it?
KW: If I don't use it I get fatigued and overheated. I think one thing that people don't realize is when you get fatigued and overheated with MS it just wears on your body. So by bedtime I'm in that much more pain than I would normally be if I didn't overheat. If I keep myself and my core temperature kind of normal I experience regular discomfort at night.
If I've been overheating or overworking and allowing my core temperature to go up I find I'll have major pain and extreme fatigue and when I do finally lie down for the night I'm in that much more pain. I will have a lot of leg pain and nerve pain. All my nerves are on fire at night but if i'm using the vest the pain and fatigue doesn't happen near to the extent so that's a big thing.
TA: Oh that's wonderful I'm glad that it has helped. Have you tried using it at nighttime?
KW: I haven't had to use it at nighttime. I have the AC cranked at night. My bedroom is usually very chilly with multiple fans going. So I don't tend to have too many issues at night. If I was sleeping in a tent or didn’t have air conditioning I would definitely wear the vest.
TA: What is next for The Coach and Horses Pub?
KW: Right now we're focusing on just getting through Covid and the little hole that put us in. Every time we're closed we do a little bit more, check off one more thing on our to-do list, but yeah, what's next is essentially a bit of cosmetic. We're going to continue to grow, get some local bands back in again, because that was a big thing before shut down. Nicole and I were running the place for a few years even prior to owning it so we had already started getting the pub to how we wanted it.
We want to get back to how essentially where we were before Covid. We had private events booked and we're starting to have those again and we have live entertainment three to four times a week. That's our first priority, getting back to normal and then from there we want to continue to build on the menu and become the town pub and stay that way.
TA: Just like the neighborhood place to go.
KW: Yes, yes! We've definitely created that place. Our biggest thing is we're going to maintain that and continue to cosmetically upgrade and do all those things to support the local artists while maintaining our popularity.
TA: That's awesome! We're so happy for you and we're so happy to help you do thIs and that you can keep going with The Coach and Horses Pub. Just keep building it and wear your vest, keep cool and keep doing what you're doing.
KW: Definitely thank you!
TA: You're welcome! Thank you so much for joining us.
KW: Thank you so much for having me.
TA: We'll put the link for your pub down below in the comments and we'll put the link for ThermApparel down below and if anybody has any questions at all please feel free to reach out to us we're happy to answer any questions anytime.
ThermApparel is a small business making big waves in the heat sensitivity world by designing the first lightweight, comfortable and invisible cooling vest, UnderCool. Check us out online, on our blog, or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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