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Due to Major Success in Q2 and Q3, Hounds Town USA is On Track to Beat 2020 Growth Goals

Driven by persistent Q2 recruitment efforts, the doggie daycare brand managed to regain 100% of its daycare membership and welcome new franchisees to the system in Q3 despite a struggling economy.

By Sarah Baumann1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 12:12PM 11/04/20

Though it is certain that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the strength of the economy, it hasn’t stopped high-demand brands like Hounds Town USA from growing. With an uptick in dog adoptions across the United States, pet owners are finding value in bringing their dogs into daycare for socialization even in this work-from-home culture. Hounds Town USA leadership strategically catered to these new owners to provide a safe environment for dogs, while growing the brand in the process. 

During Q2 as the pandemic began, the doggie daycare franchise hosted nearly 400 new evaluations and more than 30,000 visitors, and welcomed nearly 600 new dogs to their 13 facilities. In Q3, the efforts made earlier in the year are paying off. The number of evaluations, visitors, and incoming dogs increased more than 250%. President of Hounds Town USA Jackie Bondanza said the brand’s success is a result of strategic planning, a strong and lean business model, adapting that model to the changing times.

“We obviously could not have anticipated the advent of COVID-19, but it’s increasingly clear that, despite these conditions, our services are absolutely a necessity for dog owners,” said Bondanza. “We are seeing more dogs in our facilities than ever before. Given our very high customer retention rates, we look forward to catering to our new customers for many years to come.” 

Bondanza says that Hounds Town USA locations are seeing more dogs in their facilities due to the increase in dog adoptions and because people are spending more time at home with their dogs and realizing how much their dogs actually need exercise, routine and attention they cannot provide.

“Dog owners across the country — especially those with young puppies — are looking for a place to bring their pups to help them exert a little energy and socialize,” said Bondanza. “That time spent at daycare can be critical for the owner’s relationship with their dog, especially pups who are high energy.”

The demand for pet care has fostered an uptick in franchisee signings. As of October 1, Hounds Town USA is on track to exceed its 2020 growth goals. The pet care brand is on its way to signing well over the 12-15 new locations the development team had planned. Hounds Town USA awarded four new territories throughout the pandemic in Tampa, Chicago, Charlotte and Raleigh. CEO Michael Gould is thrilled to be accelerating at this pace.

“There is something to be said about a business model that can perform well in a struggling economy,” said Gould. “Since I founded the brand back in 2000, we have not only survived, but thrived through the aftermath of 9/11, the housing crash, natural disasters including Superstorm Sandy, and now COVID. This is due mostly to the simplicity and affordability of our services,” said Gould. “Interested franchise candidates are really responding well to this, and the uniqueness of our brand and model. We’re always excited to bring in new franchisees who are looking to take their careers in a new direction and really grow with the brand.”

Not only have the number of signings in Q3 exceeded expectations, but so have the sales at  those individual locations. In the month of June — arguably the height of COVID-19 — the brand opened two stores in Smyrna, Tennessee and Sanford, Florida, both of which opened with record numbers of new evaluations of 50-plus in their first weeks. The Smyrna location in particular succeeded in hitting double digit revenue in its first month alone, and saw a 25% month-over-month growth spurt in its second month. 

Phillip Michael, a new franchisee with the brand based in North Bergen, New Jersey, said brand leadership impressed him from the start. Although the brand’s low cost of entry initially caught his eye, their warmth and preparedness sold him on the opportunity to invest.

“I picked Hounds Town USA because after meeting with Mike and Jackie, it didn't feel like the corporate world,” said Michael. “It felt like family — one that I’m excited to be a part of. It was a business I could add to my portfolio but with a lower investment cost. The corporate team takes great care of you and makes sure you have everything you need to be successful.” 

The hard work of existing franchisees has played a significant role in Hounds Town USA’s Q3 success. Daycare numbers are back to 100% of where they were prior to the pandemic, and in many cases, are even higher. One location in Pittsburgh lost 70% of customers in Q2 as many residents fled the city, but the location has bounced back and rebuilt its customer base quickly. As of late September, the location hit 40 daycare dogs — their highest number yet, even pre-COVID. Another location in South Jersey hit full occupancy in August with a total of 62 dogs in the 3,500-square-foot building. These numbers come just after the Jersey location’s second full year in business.

“It goes to show that people are continuing to prioritize their dogs throughout the pandemic,” said Gould. “Like any person, dogs need socialization to live happy, healthy lives. Our customers recognize this and love bringing their pups to our locations because they know they can trust us, even in COVID-19 conditions.”

As 2020 continues, Gould says that their development team is targeting growth in Florida, Tennessee and New Jersey. With work from home conditions likely to continue into the new year, Hounds Town USA franchisees will be ready to supply a much-needed service for dogs and their families.

The overall investment to open a Hounds Town USA ranges from $265,800 to $492,500 and includes a one-time franchise fee of $45,000 for a single unit. For franchising opportunities, please visit http://www.houndstownfranchise.com.

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