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7 Pet Franchises Plan for Growth Ahead of the International Franchise Expo


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Dogtopia, a dog day care, boarding and spa services company, is one of seven pet business franchises exhibiting at this year's International Franchise Expo.

Dogtopia

The market for pet business franchises continues to boom. Consider the evidence. 

Exhibit A: More pet franchises appeared on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2019 Franchise 500 list than the previous year; Camp Bow Wow and Earthwise Pet earned spots on the 2019 list, joining Pet Supplies Plus, Petland, Dogtopia, Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery and Aussie Pet Mobile. 

Exhibit B: The seven fast-growing pet business franchises that will set up shop as exhibitors at this year’s International Franchise Expo (IFE) in hopes of connecting with aspiring entrepreneurs and driving continued franchise growth.  

IFE, which will be held May 30-June 1 at the Javits Center in New York, offers attendees the opportunity to meet with more than 400 franchise operators. While pet business franchises are just a small fraction of the exhibitor list, those that plan to attend are ready to tell attendees what the pet industry is all about. 

“New lifestyle trends, changing demographics and an overall shift in attitudes towards pets have led to a significant increase in consumer expenditures this past decade, thus expanding even further the market opportunity for a company like Woofie’s,” said Amy Reed, co-founder of Woofie’s, a pet sitting, dog walking and mobile pet spa franchise based in Ashburn, Va. “The pet industry has matured into a dynamic, highly competitive environment, and with our unique franchise system, we are poised to leverage this growing trend and help our franchisees create lasting, profitable and highly rewarding businesses.” 

New to the franchise game, Woofie’s completed its franchise disclosure document (FDD) in late 2018 and opened its first two franchises earlier this year. 

“While our focus in year one remains in the metro [Washington] D.C. area, we will soon expand to the East Coast, which is why it was so important for us to exhibit at the IFE,” Reed said. “As a true emerging franchisor, we want to introduce prospective franchise owners to the Woofie’s opportunity.”

The company will have its mobile pet spa van and several dogs on hand at its booth so attendees can interact with the equipment and the pups, Reed said.   

“A successful Woofie’s franchise owner will have the business acumen and people skills as well as a true love and passion for animals,” she said. “It’s important for us to observe that firsthand. This is why we wanted to exhibit at the IFE—because it attracts serious and qualified prospective franchisees.” 

For Woof Gang Bakery, a pet food, pet supply and professional pet grooming franchise with headquarters in Orlando, Fla., IFE is the place to be to gain more exposure as the company continues to grow, said CEO Paul Allen. 

“In the past 12 years, we have not found a need to advertise or exhibit to sell franchises. Our model has grown organically through our customer base,” he said. “However, this year we will be exhibiting at IFE because we see the value in the exposure. Presence at IFE is an important component to staying relevant among pet franchise opportunities.” 

Allen recognizes that there is tremendous potential for the growth of pet franchises. 

“In a world of electronic retail and e-commerce, offering pet services, along with specialty pet retail, allows us to compete and thrive,” he said. “Pet services done well make pet franchise opportunities a rewarding business model. The growth of pet services supports the enormous growth in the pet franchise sector.” 

Woof Gang Bakery, which expects to open a new store every 10 days, according to Allen, is focusing on positioning itself as a leader in the space—and the company is hoping its attendance at IFE will help propel its national and international growth through 2021, Allen added. 

Unsurprisingly, growing brand recognition and attracting new business owners is the goal for the majority of pet business franchises attending IFE—and veteran IFE exhibitors understand this appeal. 

“We love to showcase our brand and meet people who might enjoy joining the Dogtopia family,” said Alex Samios, vice president of franchise development for Dogtopia, a dog day care, boarding and spa services company with headquarters in Phoenix. “For more than four years, we’ve been exhibiting at the International Franchise Expo to also help plant the seed for further international expansion beyond our Canadian market.” 

The company is on track to have nearly 150 stores open by the end of 2019, with an additional 250 sold and in development. 

“With an experienced leadership team and unparalleled franchisee support, we empower our franchisees to go into business for themselves, but not by themselves,” Samios said. “Dogtopia’s sophisticated franchise support team, coupled with innovative store designs; reproducible, tested processes; superior marketing and branding efforts; and thoroughly vetted health and safety technologies, combine to make Dogtopia the ‘top dog’ in the industry.” 

Camp Bow Wow, a dog day care and boarding franchise with headquarters in Westminster, Colo., is another IFE exhibitor that will utilize the show to explain to attendees how the company supports its franchisees.  

“The International Franchise Expo is a great way for us to display our incredible brand and talk about the many successes we have had during our 15-plus years of franchising,” said Todd Haavind, vice president of sales for Camp Bow Wow. “We find that many of the attendees discover that not only is our business fun, but also a very solid economic model and attractive investment.”

Camp Bow Wow currently has more than 165 locations and reported 2018 as one of its strongest years of growth, more than doubling its year-over-year growth in openings by reaching its projected goal of 20 new locations, according to company officials. The brand is on track to match or exceed 2018’s openings in 2019 and to reach its long-term goal of more than 300 units in the next three years, officials added. 

“We would like to educate attendees on the benefits and strengths of our franchise model as well as the perks of being a part of the fast-growing $72 billion pet care industry,” Haavind said. “We will also cover some of the details regarding the development process, timelines and requirements to join our brand.” 

Other pet business franchises exhibiting at IFE include: Husse, a Sweden-based maker of dog and cat food products that are delivered direct to consumers; K9 Resorts Daycare & Luxury Hotel, a Fanwood, N.J.-based dog day care and boarding facility with nine New Jersey locations; and Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, a Charlotte, N.C.-based company that offers an indoor/outdoor dog park with a sports bar where both pets and their owners can play.

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