Here Is How To Create A Successful Family Business: Dogtopia
When it comes to blending family and business there is a wide swath of Americans who turn to franchise opportunities, like the McCumseys of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mom Sue owned (and still does) Jackson Hewitt franchises — 104 of them. Daughter Mia owned a curve franchise, and brother Mac also owned several Jackson Hewitt franchises along with a bar. And while sister Jessie is an 8th grade English teacher, she spends her summers working in the new McCumsey venture, Dogtopia.
Last year, the family decided that rather than working in their independent franchises they would collaborate on a venture as a whole family. On December 2, 2017, they combined forces and opened their doggie daycare business, Dogtopia.
Their primary inspiration was the desire to start a business together doing something they loved. While they were looking at different businesses to potentially become a part of, their family dog became ill. As they were looking at different options for end-of-life care for dogs, they began noticing how big and booming the pet industry was. The family has a life-long passion for dogs and thought dog daycare would be a more uplifting industry and the perfect fit for their family. Having four dogs between the five of them helped push them over the top too.
From their past experience in the industry, they found that when it comes to owning a business, having the support of a franchise helps to ensure success.
“Our franchise opportunity attracts families simply due to the nature of our business,” said Alex Samios, VP of franchise development at Dogtopia. “Dogs are more than just pets, they are members of the family, and we attract candidates seeking to tap into the fun lifestyle and excitement of operating a dog-centered business in their community. There aren’t a lot of franchises where the whole family can work together – and with their dogs.” Founded in 2002, Dogtopia is an early pioneer and innovator in the pet services industry.
With Dogtopia being open seven days a week, and busiest during holidays for boarding, there is someone from the family at the store every single day (often multiple family members per day). Admittedly, it makes getting together outside of work at the same time more difficult, especially during holidays and vacations. “Luckily we see each other enough at the store!” said Mia.
Nevertheless, working together presents certain challenges: arguments and bickering happen. But on the whole, it has brought the McCumseys closer together. They now have a common goal of making the business a success that unites them.
On the plus side, they say that working with family allows the benefit of knowing what each person’s strength and weaknesses are. It’s much easier knowing who should be in charge of what or who would excel in a certain area when you know what they are best at. “We complement one another,” noted Sue. “On the other hand knowing each other a little too well sometimes we get on each other’s nerves.”
The key to a family franchise is leaving any personal drama at home, the McCumsey’s advise.