In a suburban town in southeast Texas, the Ledbetter family gathers round a table in their break room for lunch every day. Having opened Dogtopia of The Woodlands North in June 2019, family time has become an essential priority.
“People told us not to go into business together, but it has been awesome for us,” Chelsea Ledbetter, the daycare’s General Manager said. “It has brought our family so much closer…we are all in this together.”
Each family member takes on a different role suited to their skills – Dad John comes from a corporate sales background and manages the day-to-day business operations; Mom Sandy with a background in teaching manages the front of house operations; and daughter Chelsea, a 2018 graduate from Texas A&M with a BS in Animal Science, takes the back-of-house, hands-on role.
Dogtopia is not the Ledbetter’s first experience with doggie daycare, however. When Chelsea was just 10 years old, she began “Faithful Fido’s” – a dog walking and daycare business out of her own home. For Chelsea, forming bonds with pups that might otherwise be cooped up at home is the reason for her passion.
“I have always loved the idea of a well-socialized dog that can go anywhere with you,” Chelsea said. “Not every dog’s owner has the time to do that [socialize] with them.”
Until recent years, the Ledbetters never dreamt that a childhood entrepreneurial endeavor could turn into a prosperous business. Once John retired and began looking at franchising options, the family sought to start a business that could change people’s lives. Enter Dogtopia, the fastest-growing brand in the pet industry.
“It all came together at exactly the right time,” said John Ledbetter. “Her graduating and me retiring.”
Moreover, John said that Dogtopia works for families looking to go into business together. “The industry itself is growing, the support you receive from the Dogtopia Support Office to make it successful is there…the model works well for a family.”
Along with playrooms that cater to dogs’ health and comfort – with rubberized flooring for paw and joint health, playrooms separated by size and play style, and a pet-safe cleaning program – Dogtopia pet parents can also enjoy webcams exclusive to registered users and participate in the Dogtopia Foundation to support three worthy causes: service dogs for veterans, youth literacy initiatives, and employment opportunities for adults with autism.
The Ledbetters will celebrate one year of business in 2020 with their second location in the works. The family dynamics?
“Pulling our strengths together makes us one, big awesome team,” said Chelsea. “We can do anything together.”
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