Hounds Town USA
WHY I BOUGHT
How A Former Hounds Town USA Client Became a Franchise Owner
After eight years in medical sales, Lauren Duffy opened her first business with doggie daycare brand.
Lauren Duffy still remembers feeling nervous the first time she dropped off her four-month-old puppy, Willy, at doggie daycare. At the time, Duffy worked as a medical sales representative for Quest Diagnostics Inc., and like many hard-working pet owners, she looked to Hounds Town USA for help when it came to giving Willy the attention and care he deserved.
Over the past decade, doggie daycare and boarding facilities have grown in popularity due to the fact that ‘man’s best friend’ has evolved from being a wonderful distraction to an integral part of the family; many professionals who commute to the office, work long hours and hold rigorous travel schedules could not afford to keep their furry family members without the help of facilities like Hounds Town USA. “I remember being apprehensive the first time I dropped Willy off at doggie daycare because of how young he was, but I quickly became comfortable because I could see how excited he would get when we would pull up to the front door,” remembers Duffy.
For five years, daily daycare drop off become a regular activity for Duffy and Willy; in October 2016, an interesting opportunity came knocking on Duffy’s door that redirected their routine. Through word of mouth, Duffy discovered that her doggie care center, Hounds Town USA, was expanding through franchising and her interest was piqued.
“At the time I was considering a different career path and relishing in the chance to think outside the box,” said Duffy, “and when I heard they were opening more locations on Long Island, NY, I became interested in learning more about Hounds Town USA from the perspective of a potential franchisee.”
Hounds Town USA's Founder, Michael Gould, started the doggie daycare and boarding facility in 2001 “almost by accident,” recalls Jackie Bondanza, President of Hounds Town USA. When Gould retired after 40 years as the Commanding Officer of the Nassau County Police Department and the head of the Military Dog Working Program, he quickly identified a unique business opportunity that would allow him to continue his work with dogs while supporting his local community.
Gould’s experience, coupled with the brand’s focus on community support, were among the deciding factors that helped Duffy invest in herself to become one of Hounds Town USA’s first franchisees. Since opening her location in September 2017, Duffy has seen firsthand how owning a Hounds Town USA quickly became less of a job and more of a lifestyle.
“I had originally planned to keep my medical sales job and run my location, but two weeks after opening, I decided to completely focus on Hounds Town USA and I’ve never looked back,” said Duffy.
Gould began franchising his doggie daycare and boarding facility in 2014 after selling two of three of the original Hounds Town USA locations to former employees, and a former customer. “I think it speaks volumes about the brand that our first two franchisees were former employees and a former customer,” said Bondanza. “Giving someone who started as an entry-level pooper-scooper the opportunity to realize their dream of becoming a business owner and seeing them run a location that will gross nearly one million dollars after several years in business is exciting; there is no better validation for the brand in our eyes.”
With more than 10 current locations and several scheduled to open in the coming months, the brand continues to see great growth momentum; Bondanza attributes the brand’s success to reasonable pricing and Hounds Town USA’s focus on the “true client,” the dogs. “A lot of other pet care places are focusing on lavish décor and not the needs of the dogs. We will pet your dog for free! The concept of requiring an upcharge for something like a belly rub is not something we do and our customers appreciate that,” said Bondanza.
Another differentiator that sets Hounds Town USA apart from competitors is the choice not to discriminate against dog breeds that have been coined as ‘aggressive.’ In fact, “bully breeds” account for nearly 20 percent of the entire dog population. A significant portion of Hounds Town USA’s dog population is breeds that are otherwise rejected from other doggie daycare facilities. “We accept any dog no matter the breed, as long as they pass our temperament evaluation. Some of our most friendly dogs are the breeds that are discriminated against like Pit Bulls, Dobermans, and German Shepherds,” said Duffy.
Duffy has enjoyed the flexibility that comes with running her own business and plans to use her seasoned sales skills to start creating more brand awareness within Island Park and surrounding communities. “I get to see the hard work I put in pay off on a daily basis by seeing how happy my staff is and how happy the dogs are when I walk through the door,” said Duffy.
To learn more about franchising opportunities with Hounds Town USA, visit http://houndstownfranchise.com/.