Jackie’s Story: Our CEO Shares Her Journey to Hounds Town
A great business starts with its people, and Hounds Town USA is no exception! Today, we want to celebrate our CEO, Jackie Bondanza, for taking a leap of faith to pursue her passion, just as we encourage our prospective Franchise Owners to do every day. As a journalist and publishing industry professional in corporate America, Jackie was highly successful in her career, yet her long hours and grueling 5-hour commute to work left her feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.
Jackie discovered Hounds Town USA as a customer, and immediately fell in love with the concept! She recognized areas for improvement and saw the true growth potential of the brand. She then used her business and marketing expertise to turn Hounds Town into one of the fastest-growing doggie daycare franchises in America. Jackie is an inspiration to female entrepreneurs everywhere and is a recipient of this year’s Woman of Wonder recognition from Franchise Dictionary Magazine. And she’s showing no signs of stopping anytime soon!
Jackie’s Approach to Nurturing Franchise Owners
When Jackie began working with Hounds Town USA, it was clear that the franchise model was a unique one. Instead of taking the typical route of soliciting potential Franchise Owners and leaving them to their own devices, Hounds Town USA takes a more personal approach.
“As an experiential franchise brand, our team has always preferred to host discovery days in person,” said Jackie in an interview with Franchising.com, “When it comes to the brand, we want to have the utmost transparency with our franchisees. We also want prospects to be able to look, touch and feel the business. We believe they need to know what it’s like to be in the store, watch customers come in, meet the staff, and understand the flow of the operations before they can fully commit to the franchise.”
This approach to connecting with Franchise Owners is still prevalent at the tail end of the pandemic. Jackie and the Hounds Town corporate team worked hard to ensure that their franchise discovery days, which we call Approval Days, were in person, all while making sure that prospective Franchise Owners felt safe and at home. After a several-month break during the start of the pandemic, the franchise returned to in-person Approval Days with strict COVID precautions in June 2020 by utilizing small groups for a one-on-one approach.
The approach, according to Jackie, is the key to nurturing Franchise Owners. An immersive experience is necessary when it comes to deciding whether or not a potential business partnership is ideal. It doesn’t end there, either. The Hounds Town corporate team continues to work closely with Franchise Owners once they make the big plunge, supporting them every step of the way to ensure their business’s success.
Approaching Franchising with a Human Element, No Matter the Challenge
Jackie’s focus on nurturing Franchise Owners doesn’t stop with the implementation of in-person Approval Days. Rather, she’s worked to make Hounds Town USA as people-focused as it is dog-focused. “What every Franchisor should understand about working with franchisees is that franchisees are people,” said Jackie in the 1851Franchise interview, “And they’re coming into a system to achieve a personal professional or financial goal or dream, sometimes a combination of all three, so franchisees should route as business partners. And Franchisors should take a collaborative approach to growing the collective round.”
When this is done, according to Jackie, the corporate team serves both the Franchise Owners’ businesses and overall brand growth all at once. It’s clearly very important to grasp that people will have different ideas of success and the path to success. An open, honest, self-reflective communication style that occurs on a regular basis is key to supporting new Franchise Owners and the franchise as a whole.
Jackie’s Advice for Success
For those considering franchise ownership, Jackie had a few tidbits of advice for success. “You’ve got to know that your business model works and it works very, very well, to me, and in my mind, when the Franchisor has at least two to three stores in a variety of markets,” said Jackie, “It’s much harder to come out of the gate and franchise a business model without any hard data and evidence that the model works very, very well.”
This is quite true, especially in the context of Hounds Town USA. What has set the franchise apart from similar pet-related franchises is its unique business model. Rather than implementing a ton of expensive bells and whistles into different package options, Hounds Town Franchise Owners offer simple, direct, and beneficial services– from doggie daycare services to grooming to overnight pet boarding.
Additionally, many of Hounds Town’s Franchise Owners manage several different locations and are involved in every aspect of the business. To Jackie, this heavy involvement helps those with little to no previous business ownership experience better understand the Hounds Town model and philosophy, ultimately aiding their success.“This will also engage a much higher level of trust and respect from the franchisees as well,” said Jackie, “Every franchisee should know everything there is to know about a brand or a business before joining the system, access all of the available information you possibly can.”
This includes looking up Google reviews, visiting the actual stores, engaging on Approval Days, and anything else one can do to get a feel for a potential franchise before signing the agreement. Jackie even suggests “secret shopping” franchise locations to experience the brand from the perspective of a customer. She also recommends doing the same thing with competitor franchises to get a fully rounded perspective of how different franchises operate. This is especially important for pet-focused franchises like Hounds Town that provide an invaluable service to their customers.
An Inspiration to Women in Business
Jackie Bondanza is a true powerhouse with an intensive focus on supporting the Hounds Town USA franchise. Her goal was also to create a strong foundation and infrastructure for the brand, especially for the corporate team. Jackie left her old career behind and took a risk– and that risk paid off. Her work with Mike Gould has resulted in a finely-tuned franchise concept and a national “pawprint” that continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
Since the brand was first launched back in 2001, Hounds Town USA has provided care for over 1.5 million pups and their owners. Jackie has played an incredibly important role in this growth with her passion, consistency, and business focus. Without Jackie, Hounds Town USA wouldn’t be the successful doggy daycare franchise it is today. We certainly owe her a lot!
Become a Hounds Town USA Franchise Owner Today
Jackie really is an inspiration in the franchising world, and potential Franchise Owners will have the opportunity to speak and work with her through the Discovery Process. Our goal and Hounds Town is to ensure that the entire process of discovery is comfortable and straightforward for our potential Franchise Owners, and we work to ensure everyone on the corporate team is involved. We want to work with you to build a community of Franchise Owners and doggie daycare facilities around the country!
Hounds Town USA is a doggie daycare franchise that is dedicated to letting dogs be dogs, with no need for any of the unnecessary frills and add-ons found at other doggie daycare facilities. Founder Mike Gould brings and CEO Jackie Bondanza implemented over forty years of canine handling experience to Hounds Town USA, passing along their extensive knowledge to Franchise Owners. If you are interested in becoming a Hounds Town USA doggie daycare owner, get in touch with our team today to learn more!