What are your backgrounds? And what were you doing prior to owning a dog daycare franchise with Hounds Town USA?
John: Kristy and I have been together since high school and just celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary this year! I have always been in the animal health industry and I started out working at veterinary clinics for twelve years. I currently work as a sales trainer at a veterinary diagnostic company and have worked my way up throughout the years. I’ve been fortunate to get to work with people globally on training initiatives with animal health.
Kristy: I’m an audiologist and have worked with telemedicine for the past three years. I manage a team of audiologists that are stationed across the country, working within B2B and direct to consumers.
How did you first learn about the Hounds Town dog daycare franchise opportunity?
John: I’ve been looking for something to invest in for the past 2-3 years now. When I say “looked at it,” I mean read about it and Googled it.” I originally was looking at a Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which we didn’t have here in Nashville. We have two daughters Grace (14) and Julia Kate (9), who love that concept. Eventually, we ended up getting one here though, and I realized that restaurants aren’t really my forte.
We recently got a dog (Oliver), and this past April we went on a trip and I realized that there wasn’t anywhere for us to board him. We ended up going to a little boarding place recommended by a neighbor and had a terrible experience, so much so that my daughter was crying when we left the dog there. Then I had a lightbulb moment and thought, “We have a gap… this is my wheelhouse. Let’s look into it.” Literally, I came home and Googled “dog daycare franchise.” I found a few places, I looked at Hounds Town and Camp Bow Wow, and got in contact. The latter stopped returning my emails, and I got in touch with (Franchise Development Director) Rob (Taylor) at Hounds Town, who I actually ended up already knowing because we work together at my current job. We hadn’t even realized that we had the same daytime job working for the same company!
What about the Hounds Town Dog Daycare Franchise Model did you like compared to the other concepts?
John: There were a couple of things that were attractive about it to me. It’s still small. I know a lot about this industry, having worked in it for so many years. I thought it was cool that Hounds Town was its own entity and independent organization not run by a big corporation. It’s run by real people. (Hounds Town Founder) Mike (Gould) and (President) Jackie (Bondanza) were phenomenal and we’re friends already even though we barely know each other! I liked Mike’s approach and how it was really about the dogs. You make the pet owners feel good, but your focus is making the dog feel good and that’s what will keep people coming back. That’s what really spoke to me. The model was built for people like us. We’re not the kind of people looking to open 82 Taco Bells… we were looking for a business opportunity that was realistic.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to be an entrepreneur?
John: I always have yes. I applied to vet school a couple of times and always thought it would be really cool to own your own business. I wanted a way to work with animals and own my own business. It’s interesting that it took us to where we’re at now! I get to help animals medically at my current job and now I’m excited to be able to help them with their mental health through Hounds Town.
Kristy: I always have as well. My dad owned a business as a contractor. He owned the business and my mom ran the office, which was attached to our house. I grew up knowing that’s how we did things. It’s always been something that I’ve been open to and now I’m really excited that the opportunity is here!
You mentioned that you have a dog, do you have any other pets?
John: We have a dog named Oliver who’s a one and a half-year-old Springer Spaniel. He’s already been deemed the mayor of Hounds Town! We also have two cats who are both about seven, named Charlotte and Jack. Jack is a huge cat, while Charlotte is tiny. As cat owners, we have to incorporate the Purrington Villas section into our dog daycare franchise!
What’s been the best part of your experience with the Hounds Town USA corporate team?
Kristy: Definitely the responsiveness of the team. They’ve expressed that they’re open to any and all questions at any time. Whenever we’ve reached out, they’ve reached back out to us very quickly with an answer and guided us along the way. Communication is a really big thing for me. Everyone has been very warm and welcoming as well and when you’re starting something new that’s a little scary, that’s very reassuring!
Does John and Kristy’s story sound familiar? You’re not alone! We’re currently offering dog daycare franchise opportunities to qualified individuals in select markets across the country. If this sounds like something that would interest you, visit our franchising site today!