Jim Thompson, Former Chewy CRO, is Joining the Hounds Town USA Franchise!
Hounds Town is no stranger to Texas, but if there’s one city we’ve been looking to break into, it’s Austin. We knew that not just anyone could bring our Franchise and the Hounds Town Hangover to the dogs of ATX, so that makes introducing our newest Franchise Owner even more exciting! Joining us after leaving his corporate retail career behind – of which his most recent role was an executive position for every dog’s favorite, Chewy.com – will be Jim Thompson along with his wife and son.
Today, let’s get to know our new Franchisee, hear how he expects to leverage his extensive background and learn about why he looked into franchising after leaving his 9-5.
Hounds Town is Headed to Austin, TX with the Thompson Family!
Jim’s In-Depth Retail Background
There are few people who can say they’ve spent their entire career in the same industry, but Jim Thompson’s decades of experience in the retail world makes him one of the most prepared Franchisees we’ve seen! While he got his start in strategy, planning, and logistics, he eventually worked his way across the retail business to CEO and CRO positions in everything from consumer electronics to sporting goods and even pet products.
Most recently, Jim held the role of Chief Revenue Officer at Chewy.com, a direct-to-consumer pet products brand that saw massive growth following their IPO in 2019 and during the stay-at-home orders in 2020. There, he and the rest of the executive team assigned the highest value to their customer base – pet parents – and Chewy’s relationship with them. He eventually decided to leave and moved into advising other companies on a freelance basis, as well as dedicating some of his newfound free time to being a member of a board.
Outside of his work, Jim has always loved to be outside and be engaged with other people, often doing things that involve staying active. Together with his wife, Heidi, and son, Jake, he loves to go fishing, golfing, boating, and playing sports outdoors.
Discovering Hounds Town
Jim didn’t explicitly leave his last position to pursue franchising, however, once he realized how much more free time he had on his hands after he switched to advising on a freelance basis, he knew that now was the time to start something. After a quick online search, the Thompsons connected with Hounds Town dog daycare and promptly kickstarted their journey into franchising. With Jim’s love for pets – as a pet parent himself – and his experience in retailing, he believed that opening his own Hounds Town pet franchise was the perfect fit for the family’s lifestyle and individual career paths.
“Yes, it’s going to be new to be an entrepreneur versus being a corporate guy, so that’s interesting and appealing to me, but it wasn’t necessarily the journey I chose. I wanted to find a franchise brand that was obsessed with [the] customer and a brand I felt people would really enjoy working with that would allow me to use some of my go-to-market and direct-retail expertise, our son, and my wife, who has been a professional her whole career, who is super passionate about pets, as well. So, I started a search, and I found Hounds Town literally through [a] Google [search].”
Learning About Hounds Town Pet Franchise
The Discovery Process was an exciting period for both the Hounds Town corporate team and Jim Thompson alike! With his experience from his time as an executive leader for Chewy.com, we were confident right out of the gate that this would lead to a successful, profitable pet franchise location – and it didn’t take long to see that he felt the same. As Jim became familiar with our dog daycare business model and the methodology behind our dog interactions, he instantly recognized what he felt was the most important thing in any business: our point of differentiation.
After recognizing the potential of an Austin dog daycare location, Jim felt Hounds Town had presented him with the franchise investment opportunity to share some of his professional wisdom with his son, Jake, since he will be the principal operator of their pet franchise. Knowing that he’ll be able to hire a team of great people for him to work with and he’ll have his parents to lean on for support, Jim was ready to pull the trigger and move forward.
Leaving Corporate & Making It a Family Affair
In between dedicating his time to being a board member and an advisor, Jim made time to make it to an Approval Day so he could meet Jackie, Mike, and everyone else in attendance! As he moved forward in the franchising process, Jim made it clear that he had one major qualifier for getting into business with any franchise: an obsession with the customer experience.
“The thing I’ve learned in all my years [is that] you’re only as good as the people that you surround yourself with. The product helps, we’re taking care of pets, [so] it should be fun. Once I met the team – Jackie, Mike, and the entire management team – [I thought], ‘Are these people that I’m really going to want to work with?’
“I really loved the management team for their sentiment –they’re fantastic. They’re just really good, authentic people, and [that] meant a lot to me.”
During his time at Chewy, he most loved the personal touch the team provided to the pet parents and was proud of his contribution to their consumer relationship efforts. This is a sentiment that Jim carries with him today, and it’s because we match this at Hounds Town that he made the decision to become our next Franchise Owner!
Please Help Us Welcome the Thompsons to the Hounds Town Franchise!
As Jim, his wife, and son began to make plans to open their Hounds Town dog boarding franchise in the Austin area, we sat down with Jim for a quick Q&A to get to know him and his background better! Let’s hear what he had to say about his experience with our Approval Day process and what excites him most about joining the Hounds Town pet franchise pack!
“Did you have a moment from Approval Day that stuck out to you?”
Jim Thompson: “The thing that struck me was learning about how [they] literally qualified the dog for what type of pack it would be best in. They basically actualized what I was hoping [which was] a real point of differentiation. Sometimes companies talk about, ‘We do this,’ [because] it’s really good marketing, but not a lot of substance. I think the gotcha moment for me was seeing Mike actually act upon that with the pet, qualify the pet, put the pet in the pack, and be able to walk [to] the store and see how that interaction got acted out. So, that was awesome.”
“What do you look forward to most about your Hounds Town location?”
J: “The fun of serving pet parents and just being back in the [pet] space. I’m very fortunate to reflect on [my time at] Chewy; I loved that experience. I love the idea of being in a pet-centric business again [and] doing [so] with a business model [that] really gives the pet and the pet parents something that’s above just placing them in a place for the day. And I think being back in front of the customer is always good. ”
“Do you have any advice that you would give to another potential dog daycare Franchise Owner?”
J: “I would probably say to them [that] if you value a business model with differentiation, Hounds Town offers that. If you value the quality, the capabilities, and the integrity of the team you’re going to work with, I would definitely prioritize Hounds Town. Those are things I certainly have gained from this experience, which obviously led us to [make] the commitment we have.”
We can’t wait to see Jim and his family join the growing Texas Hounds Town pack and see all the great ways he puts his previous retail and pet industry experience to good use! If you’re in the same boat Jim found himself in after leaving his last position, you’re in luck because we still have prime territories available for motivated future Hounds Town Franchisees! Take our quick, 1-minute quiz to see if you qualify to get started today.