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    10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2017 6:06 PM by moderator_lisa

    A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop

    doggoneawesome Wayfarer

      Just joined this group today!


      Beginning research stages on whether or not purchasing some wooded land (at least 10 acres if not more) and putting a outdoor dog park and pet shop on it would have the potential of being a profitable business? I live in an area where some might drive from as far as 50 miles to come an enjoy the dog park. We do not have one in our area nor do we have a pet shop that caters to just pets. The closest dog park is about 45-50 miles away. Walmart and a Rural King are the closest things we have to a pet shop. I also live where it is a vacation and tourist destination during the months of June - September. I would like to purchase enough land to expand and possibly add other things down the road such as a non for profit rescue and maybe a boarding facility but for now, just want to concentrate on the dog park and pet shop being viable or not. I currently am in my 2nd year of a pet service business. I am a professional pet sitter and dog walker, sole proprietor. These services are something that I would want to continue along with the addition of dog park/shop, etc. I am currently the only professional pet service business here. It is a rural area and a LOT of pets around! We have 4 area veterinarians, 2 local rescues and 1 shelter.


      I am thinking minimally 10 acres, partially wooded area for the dog park and cute rustic pet shop. The dog park would have trails (outside of the fence park area) for walking your dogs, would be a facility that trainers could use, 4h kids could use for their dog training sessions/learning, a place where our local rescues and shelters could use, etc. We have nothing like that here and is is very much needed.


      The pet shop would include items made by local and other Indiana vendors specifically for pets of all kinds, would include specialty and healthy treats, maybe some frozen and freeze dried/dehydrated foods, apparel, safer toys etc. The focus on the shop would be treats/and a few foods for a healthier pet. It would provide information on that as well. Would include information about area pet events, rescues, shelters, etc.


      I am guessing to even begin figuring out whether it could be profitable, I would need the following:
      Cost of land
      cost of park equipment
      Insurance for dog park and pet shop
      plumbing and electrical
      land work such as clearing of trees, trail making, upkeep of grounds and equipment, etc.
      any building materials for the pet shop, dog park and outdoor dog bathing facility (DIY)
      parking lot costs

      decks, ramps, seating outside around the grounds


      Then, I would also need to figure out the cost of a monthly or yearly subscription be to the dog park. I would also include day passes as well.
      Not sure on where to begin on the pet shop as far as how to make a profit there. I do not have any experience in a retail shop but I happen to know a pet food shop owner and they are willing to share with me the ins/outs of that business.


      I am in the process of putting together a questionnaire to leave at veterinarians, rescues, shelter, Walmart, rural king, all my pet service clients, also using social media, see the amount of interest and wants. I know there is a huge want and need already but want to get some more specific information from the community such as what they would be willing to pay for monthly/year/day pass access to such a park, and more.


      I am a single mom and would be a sole proprietor. I have been an entrepreneur my whole life practically so I am aware of much needed research but am curious as to your thoughts and ideas if this can even be profitable? Or any other thoughts or wisdom you have to offer on this subject?


      I know many of us pet lovers dream of owning such a place, and that there is a lot to it. I want to try my best to make it possible for our community locally and surrounding areas if there is even the chance to.

      Thank you so much for your time and any input!




        • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
          Moderator Cath Guide

          Welcome!  If you have not been to our Introduce Yourself  and share a bit more about yourself.  It helps us to address you and your needs a bit easier. 


          As a pet owner, I love your idea of a pet park and pet shop!  I know others in our community can help with your questions and give you some valuable advice.


          Since you say you are in or near a vacation area, instead of boarding, you might think of daytime pet care in your pet shop so the pet 'moms and dads' could enjoy sight-seeing and then come back at the end of a day and pick up their pet from daycare.


          Consider sending a survey after the pet care/visit.  That will give you a good 'feel' for what they felt about their pet's visit.


          Listen out for other's suggestions and comments and best wishes for a very successful venture!



          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
            moderator_lisa Ranger

            Welcome to the community, Rachel! I am also a dog owner, and I love your idea. To have a place where dog owners could come and hang out with their furry friends, and perhaps leave them for some time to run an errand or two, seems like a worthwhile investment to me. Perhaps you could partner with a groomer and even a coffee cart owner to increase the appeal and keep people coming back. A park with benches, a place to sit with a warm beverage while Fido plays, and the option for a short-term daycare would seem to be a brilliant combination for a successful endeavor. You could even add a contact board for pets and owners who may not have met yet and guest passes for regulars to offer friends as an introduction. I may be over-complicating things, but networking and joint efforts seem to be very successful these days. I'm pretty excited about your idea!


            Good luck! I look forward to hearing more about your new adventure.



            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                So grateful finding this group! Thank you, Lisa, very much.
                I have narrowed the scope down to two visions, one either being dog park and doggy daycare and the larger vision being dog park, doggy day care, and small individually themed cabins.


                I have a Realtor that I am working with looking at properties so that I can get an idea of what is here and cotsts. I have a couple insurance companies working on quotes for the ideas I have. I have also had a meeting with our Area Planning Commissions about zoning requirements, permits and licensing needs.


                I am going to seek out other privately owned dog parks to go visit and meet with the owners and hear their experiences and knowledge. Going to do the same with the doggy day care. Endless researching as you know but I am going to do it. I want to know if it is possible for ME to make it all or some form of it happen.  I am going to look for someone that is excellent at grant research and writing. At some point I might put a couple people together to handle fundraising events. I know who I want to hire to help care for the grounds. I am going to enjoy the process of learning and remind myself daily to breathe, anything is possible and one day at a time.

                • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                  doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                  I meant to include, Lisa, thank you for your thoughts/suggestions! Defintely great ideas to consider! There might be a small snack/gift shop on the property and will have vending machines at least but those ideas are something to consider! An Ice Cream Cart in the summer time...I just happen to have one of those that I am currently selling because I do use it for business anymore...maybe I should hang on to it!!

                • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                  Moderator Cath Guide

                  Hi again Rachel,


                  You are really doing a good job with all your research and I commend you for taking the time to do that.  I think it will pay off in the end.


                  How did your Thursday meeting go?  Any progress there?


                  I know you have a list of ways to promote your park.  I was thinking that you could sponsor a monthly pet contest in the summer: the most unusual pet, best behaved pet, dog/cat of the month.......  The reward could be ribbons with your dog park/dog daycare on them and the winner could have (you name it) hours of free dog park.


                  We are anxious to get the next update on you and your journey.



                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                      doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                      Good evening, Cath!
                      Thank you for check in again : ) and thank you for the support and well wishes and kudos!


                      Thursday meeting was GREAT! I was super nervous going in but took some deep breaths and settled in. The 2 gentlemen I met with were great and were liking my ideas.


                      I have now 2 insurance companies working on quotes for different scenerios:
                      ONE fora dog park and doggy daycare and the other scenerio being with 5 - 9 tiny unique cabin rentals included.


                      Today, I created a poll to start advertising online and on paper. I also created a facebook page for the research. 


                      THANK YOU!

                        • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                          moderator_lisa Ranger

                          Wow! You've really made some amazing progress already. Congratulations on your accomplishments so far. Have you created your business plan on paper yet, so the people you are hiring to help bring this together are all on the same page? This can be the single most important resource for making sure the overall vision you have for your company is clear to everyone at all times. It can also help keep you on track personally, and you'll want to revisit it and make changes as your business grows.


                          I'm glad you appreciated my suggestions. I admit I got so excited at the prospect of this niche market that my mind started racing. I think the ice cream cart is a great asset! At the root of it, a dog park is still a park, and I think it's more fun for the humans if they have things to do while their dogs are playing so they don't get bored. I love the idea of cabins; it could make your dog park a destination in itself for pets who deserve a vacation (and their people, of course).


                          I hope you'll keep us posted!



                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: A Doggone Awesome Outdoor Dog Park & Pet Shop
                              doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                              Thank you Lisa! I am really enjoying the research on this and all that I am learning so I am pretty darn excited in this phase alone. Even if I learn at some point that this is not a direction to go, I will have loved the journey. I know the education will be used in the future one way or another.


                              I am reviewing a very long and detailed business plan this week that has been sent to me via my mentor with SCORE. I am not hiring anyone currently for anything or at least so far not have needed to. Any hiring is definitely something that will take good decision making for exactly the reasons and more that you have mentioned. I will say I already do know who will be my grounds keeper. Very trust worthy and inline with everything.


                              I love your excitement so don't ever hold back with thoughts or ideas or knowledge. I had another idea and that is if I do some sort of cabin rental for tourists, is to include a little chapel on the property as well so all the dog lovers can marry in a beautiful location and with their pups and everyone elses' pups around. lol Just another random vision. My mind never stops. I do have the vision of it being a destination point for this area. We have a theme park (Indiana Beach Amusement Park) on one of the lakes here that brings the tourists to the area in the summer (veryshort tourist season, Memorial Weekend - LaborDay Weekend). I really want to tap in to both areas, local communities and tourism.


                              Thank you again!!