Wilmington, North Carolina is about to become a Hounds Town, thanks to one of our newest pet Franchise Owners, Scott Weikert! Scott spent most of his career in the restaurant industry before looking for an opportunity that would combine his previous professional customer service experience with his love of dogs.
After looking into opening an independently-owned doggy daycare in Wilmington, NC, his community, Scott realized that owning and operating his own pet care facility would be much more expensive than he had hoped. Fortunately, a chance encounter with a franchise marketing website helped lead Scott to the Hounds Town USA opportunity that would change the course of his career.
“I was on a website for businesses and saw a section for franchises, and I saw Hounds Town and decided to look into it,” Weikert recalls. “The more and more I looked at the franchise, the better a fit it seemed to be.”
Despite his newfound desire to own and operate a doggy daycare in his Wilmington, North Carolina community, Scott had never had a previous desire to be an entrepreneur. “I’d never really had any interest in necessarily owning my own company,” he shares. “I knew I never wanted to own my own restaurant, and I had it stuck in my head that that was the industry I was always going to be in.” Discovering the Hounds Town opportunity showed Scott that he could achieve his goal of owning a pet franchise while being backed by the support of a caring, knowledgeable team. “Hounds Town made me feel comfortable,” he says.
Scott began his Franchise Education Process with Hounds Town, finding that there was much about the pet franchise that aligned with his own beliefs about caring for dogs. “I like the fact that they don’t breed-discriminate. I like the philosophy of having the dogs play together and have that pack mentality as opposed to just putting them in a cage all day,” Weikert says about Hounds Town USA’s commitment to providing a safe, interactive daycare environment for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. This aspect of the Hounds Town opportunity especially hits home for Scott, who owns two dogs- Zeus, a coonhound mix, and Saint, a mixed-breed rescue whom he originally mistook for a large, purebred German shepherd, thanks to a cleverly-angled picture on the organization’s website. (“The way they took the picture, he looked tall and majestic. And then when I wound up getting him, he was only 45 pounds and about two feet tall, and I asked them where the rest of him was!” he laughs.)
Scott also enjoyed Hounds Town’s commitment to letting dogs be dogs- an aspect, he says, which was lacking in some of the other pet care franchises, like Camp Run-A-Mutt, that are opening in his area. “The bigger chains are starting to pop up around here,” he explains. “You see the luxury suites you pay extra for, with the TVs and whatnot that- it’s more about making the owner of the dog feel comfortable, as opposed to the dog’s comfort.” These “frou-frou” add-ons, as Weikert describes them, do little to actually help a dog feel safe and happy. Additionally, Scott is incredulous that these high-end doggy daycare facilities charge extra for belly rubs and other forms of physical affection during a dog’s stay. He says, “It kind of seems ridiculous- if you don’t love dogs enough that you can’t pet them sometime during the day and show them love, you’re in the wrong business!”
Scott also shared that, in addition to the upscale new pet franchises that are cropping up in his community, the only other alternative is old-school, Mom-and-Pop dog kennels that are more restrictive and don’t allow interactive play between dogs who are boarding. “It’s more about just putting them in pens and collecting the money,” he explains, “as opposed to the well-thought-out process of socializing the dogs and pairing them up, and actually developing their personalities.” Scott hopes that by bringing Hounds Town to his community, he will be providing dog owners with a third, best alternative when it comes to expert, thoughtful pet care.
By the time Scott arrived in New York for his Discovery Day, he already felt confident about his decision to pursue a pet franchise with Hounds Town. “I was pretty well bought into it when I first went up there because of everything that I’d seen so far and the conversations I’d had with some of the Franchise Owners,” he remembers. Meeting Founder Mike Gould and President Jackie Bondanza only cemented his good feeling about the pet franchise. “They’re genuine people,” he says. “I feel like they obviously care for the welfare of the dogs.” Scott was also impressed by how much Mike and Jackie care about the success of their Franchise Owners. “They have a genuine desire to see that each franchise is successful,” he says, adding, “They’re hands-on.”
Meeting Mike and Jackie helped provide Scott with the reassurance that he was making a good decision. Their dedication to helping each of their Franchise Owners achieve success within their own markets reminded him of advice he’d once received from an acquaintance. “I was actually given advice from someone who is a franchisor,” Weikert explains. “He said, just make sure that it feels right with whoever I get involved with because they’re going to have all the power. In all my conversations with Mike and Jackie, it just reinforced that they have just as much of a desire to see me succeed as I did. They weren’t in it just for the franchise part of it.”
Now that Scott has officially become one of our newest Franchise Owners, he is excited for his grand opening later this year and is eagerly anticipating the day-to-day routine that he can look forward to once his Hounds Town opens its doors. He laughs, “I told Mike and (Hounds Town franchise development manager) Alex (Gesten) that I’m actually looking forward to cleaning up poo!”
Scott Weikert was able to discover a whole new career path by looking into the Hounds Town opportunity. Thanks to his great decision to open a Hounds Town in his community, Scott will be able to operate a fulfilling, emotionally rewarding business that lets him be around dogs all day long! Can you see yourself as a Hounds Town USA Franchise Owner? If so, please complete the form below or visit our franchise website to learn more about the opportunity. Franchises are selling fast- now’s your chance to bring a Hounds Town to YOUR town!