Archive for October, 2012

This New Business Model is Barking Up the Right Tree

18 Oct

By John Woods

I live in Barrie Ontario. For the most part, Barrie is a bedroom community for the Greater Toronto Area. Five days a week, much of the city's population leaves early in the morning. It's not unusual for people to be gone for 12 or 13 hours.

Several smart retailers have caught on to this anomaly and have positioned themselves to cater specifically to commuters. They're clever, and they're reaping the benefits of their ingenuity.

Take my situation for example. I have a puppy (Murphy) who would be house-bound for extended periods of time if it were not for "Bark Avenue".

This is Murphy. (Well, he's bigger now!)

Bark Avenue is a small business that offers daycare for dogs. You drop them off in the morning and pick them up in the evening. They spend the day playing with other dogs of similar activity levels under the supervision of trained staff. They have toys, a pool, climbers, and lots of space to run freely. All this for about $25 per day.

Murphy loves puppy daycare. As we approach the facility, he starts to get excited; when I open the door of the car, it's a mad dash to get inside and see his friends. At the end of the day, he comes home well-exercised and exhausted.

It occurs to me that these people have found a niche market created by the configuration of the community. This is a terrific business model. The dogs are happy, the dog owners are happy, and the proprietors of the facility are happy.
But it doesn't stop there.

Bark Avenue can also board Murphy overnight if I go on a business trip or a vacation. The owners have perceptively identified that a high percentage of Barrie residents originate elsewhere, and are therefore likely to travel.

They also have a mini boutique in the lobby. If you want to, you can buy food, treats, brushes, blankets, or collars while you are waiting for your dog to be brought out of the play area.

Finally, Bark Avenue offers a grooming service. I can have Murphy washed and buffed, his nails trimmed or his ears cleaned for a modest fee.

Great service, great product, great location. No wonder this business is successful.