Business During COVID-19:
Petopia Pet Daycare
Feb 24, 2021
What is Petopia Pet Daycare?
Travis Horney and his fiancé, Katie, are the proud owners and founders of Petopia – a pet daycare in Grand Forks, ND. They opened in August 2018 and expanded their facility in early 2020 to accommodate for their growth and demand. Today, they provide pet daycare, boarding, and grooming services and have a 5,000+ square foot indoor running area for the dogs to play in all year long.
“The idea to start Petopia was mentioned casually by my fiancé, Katie. After doing some research, we realized that it was actually possible. We both have a love for dogs and knew we wanted to be our own bosses, so it seemed like the perfect fit.”
Before the COVID-19 shutdowns, Petopia was operating at its peak and breaking sales records month and after month. But because they are a dog boarding and daycare facility that relies heavily on people traveling and going to work, the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to lose close to 90% of their revenue streams.
“The loss in revenue streams was really sad because we had such good momentum before then. We were about to expand to meet the demand, then everything just completely stopped. You just can’t plan for something of this size and nature to ever happen.”
Petopia's Creative Solutions:
Despite challenges and loss of revenue streams, Travis and Katie’s top priority was retaining their staff. The duo applied for and received a PPP loan, which helped them maintain their teams’ regular hours and pay them normally.
In addition, Petopia waived the $5 pick-up and $5 drop-off fees for transporting dogs, allowing customers to get out of their house without having to worry about bringing their dog to Petopia. This change helped support first responders who were working long shifts by allowing them to continue working hard without the stress of finding someone to pick up, drop off, or care for their pets.
“Grand Forks has always been good to us. We have had city government officials calling to check in on us and asking how they can help. The local Small Business Development Center has been contacting us about different grants and programs that we may be eligible for. And we can’t forget our regular customers, who have brought in their dogs day in and day out to show their support and keep our business open.”
Travis and Katie thanked their customers by handing out Petopia hoodies and dog treats as a Christmas gift this year in gratitude for their support.
Advice for Other Small Business Owners:
“Don’t give up. There will be hard and bumpy roads again, but you have to push through. Take good care of your staff and they’ll take care of you. There isn’t a business owner out there that will tell you it’s easy, but there’s always a path to excellence and it comes with a high reward.”