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Inn The Money

[ 1 ] Jan. 1, 2009 | SBO Editor


There is instant soup and homemade soup. Both will satisfy your hunger, but in far different ways. One comes out of a box or can. The other is a result of much planning, preparation, attention to detail and caring. There’s a big difference.

Kennelwood Pet Resorts’ history began in 1974, when founder Donald Danforth, Jr., grandson of Ralston Purina Company founder William H. Danforth, opened Kennelwood Village in St. Louis, a full-service boarding facility for cats and dogs on more than four acres of land with 300 runs, a boarding school for dogs, animal hospital, grooming salon, gift shop and 60-occupant cattery.

In 1999, Kennelwood opened one of the first all-suite pet resorts in the country and today it has six locations in the St. Louis area, making it one of the largest boarding, grooming and training facilities in the Midwest. On a full weekend, Kennelwood can board in excess of 700 pets.

Consider the history that Kennelwood brings to the table when being compared to some of its industry competition—some of them franchising’s version of instant soups, conceived to take advantage of the explosive pet services marketplace. Kennelwood is backed by more than 34 years of operating experience and more than 817 years of combined pet industry knowledge.

Kennelwood Pet Resorts are full-service facilities offering a wide variety of guest services including all-suite pet accommodations, award-winning grooming, personalized play time, doggie day camp, professional training and more.

All Kennelwood Pet Resorts offer pets and their parents a variety of destination choices and accommodations for cats and dogs, all under 24-hour supervision with constant monitoring of safety and cleanliness. The employee motto, “Trust, Commitment and Loving Care,” ensures that every guest receives the highest level of care and attention.

While a patriarch in its industry, Kennelwood also leads the pack in embracing progress and change, a philosophy embraced by Donald Danforth, Jr., who died in 2001 after battling ALS, but whose original vision was to grow Kennelwood into a national brand.

“Every day Mr. Danforth asked, ‘What’s new?’” said Kennelwood President and CEO Alan Jones, who has been with the company since 1976. “He was always looking for the newest and best idea to make sure the company was always moving forward.”

Coinciding with the launching of its franchising program in 2007, the company began operating under the rebranded name of Kennelwood Pet Resorts with a “new look and the same love” according to Chris Danforth, chief marketing officer and son of Donald Danforth, Jr. The new image clearly conveys Kennelwood Pet Resorts’ reputation as the upbeat, friendly vibrant choice of pet parents looking for fabulous vacations and adventures for their cats and dogs.

“We have a reputation around the country as being one of the leaders in our industry,” Danforth said. “We helped establish the level of service that is available in pet care facilities today, but it was also time to update our image and brand.”

With its decades of history and experience and recognition as a well-established brand, Kennelwood is strongly positioned as a franchise concept. Its first franchise location is expected to open in southwest Illinois, near St. Louis, in late 2008.

Kennelwood expects to have eight to nine franchise locations in development by the end of 2008. Ten to 15 Kennelwood Pet Resorts are expected to be open and 25 additional locations in development by the end of 2010.
Americans will spend $43.4 billion on their pets in 2008, according to estimates by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), more than double what they spent a little more than a decade ago. Spending on high-end services such as those offered by Kennelwood fuels the growth.

Kennelwood is more than just luxury pet accommodations. Grooming services including professional pet styling and Kennelwood’s own proprietary SHED-X® anti-shedding treatments add impressive potential revenue streams for franchise owners, as do a variety of other special add-on services such as personal play times and Yappy Hour—Kennelwood’s version of a happy hour for dogs complete with cookies and frozen Frosty Paws® treats.

In fact, Kennelwood, which had systemwide sales of $9.5 million in 2007, saw most of its revenue derived almost equally from overnight boarding (41 percent) and grooming (42 percent).

A background in the pet care industry is a plus for franchise candidates, but not a requirement. However, franchisees are expected to have strong business management and customer service skills. •

Alan Jones, right, is the CEO and guru of Kennelwood. Chris Danforth, center, is the chief marketing officer, and Joe Zuccarello, is the director of franchising. The dynamic trio is growing the franchised pet resort company at an amazing pace.

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Category: Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Small Business Opportunities Jan 2009

  • http://www.petropolis.com St. Louis Dog Boarding

    Very interesting article. I have tried them in the past, and they have a great facility. I also highly recommend Petropolis Pet Center in Chesterfield. They always treat my two pooches like royalty, and they have a great time at their doggie daycare.