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Pet Care Franchise Hounds Town Port Jefferson Owner Talks Business to Local Paper

by Art Donnelly

From the first time I met Marianne [owner of pet care franchise Hounds Town USA’s Port Jefferson location], my impression was of an upbeat, energetic, positive individual who exudes the philosophy of “Luvin’ Life.” Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Marianne to learn a little bit more about her and Hounds Town Port Jeff. 

Having spent 10 years working on Wall St., Marianne found it was no longer for her. As she put it, she’d “had enough business suits, meetings, and reports” to hold her for a while. It was time for a change. 

She shares that she actually fell into this business somewhat unexpectedly. At the time, she was looking for a transition and began working at Hounds Town part time focused on their marketing. Within three months, she found herself working full time in more of a general business role and within a few years acquired the business when the opportunity became available. She shared that the purchase was a long process, over a year, from the initial discussion to the final turnover, but it finally came to be in January 2012. 

“It’s fun,” she says of running the business. “I can’t imagine doing anything else at this point.” In contrast to her Wall Street days, “when you come here [to Hounds Town] we’re so different. It’s laid back, relaxed, fun, but at the same time we’re crazy busy running around with dogs all day. Everyone here loves coming to work each day. It’s never a drudgery, and it’s never boring.”

Her greatest adjustment to being a business owner was realizing “there was no one else to hand of responsibility or situations to anymore–now I’m it!” In addition to her degree in animal behavior, she finds continuing education and training for herself and her staff to be critically important to their success. Whether the program is on animal care, safety, health, or behavior, “They’re all great because they keep us sharp. My hope is that the various certifications our staff has earned demonstrates to our clients just how serious we take our roll in the care of their pets.”

When asked what she likes to do when not at work, Marianne’s first response was, “I haven’t relaxed since the ’90’s,” but quickly followed with, “If I’m not doing anything with my 14-year-old or my 18-month-old sons I’m probably doing something related to the 300-year-old house we purchased three years ago. Our focus is more on restoring the house than modernizing it, but some insulation and a better heating system would go a long way. I feel like a pioneer woman in the morning stoking the nine fireplaces and pellet stove to keep the house warm.” All in all, “it’s a lot of work, but we love it.”

Marianne and her husband Chris, a New York City fireman, love living on Long Island because they get to enjoy “the small-town life” but also have easy access to the cultural aspect of New York City for concerts and shows. Additionally, she loves living near the water. “I would never want to feel like I was land-locked,” she says. 

Lastly, when I posed the questions, what are you most thankful for in your life, in her typical high-spirited fashion she replied, “My family, my business, and of course, caffeine!” 

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