Dog day-care is a fast mover

By Lana Guineay

“Every day is a great day – I work with dogs!”

Director and “chief puppy cuddler” at Dogcity Daycare Daniel Spooner is clearly enthusiastic about his work – and why wouldn’t he be? Most of his colleagues are fluffy and four-legged.

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Like most Aussies, husband and wife team Daniel Spooner and Alex Argenio love dogs. With more than 24 million pets in the country, Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and we spend over $12.2 billion on them a year.

Dogs are part of the family, with their own Instagram accounts, dog walkers, puppy sitters and schools…. it’s no surprise dog daycare is booming. Dogcity Daycare was recently named as one of 25 finalists in this year’s SA Fast Movers program, recognising the state’s fastest growing small to medium enterprises.

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Dan puts the rapid growth of Dogcity down to changing attitudes about pets.

“It’s a far cry from the backyard pooches of the past,” he says. “Fur-babies now join their parents on breakfast outings, days at the beach, weekends away and visiting friends. It means that dogs are now required to have well-rounded socialisation skills and great doggy manners – and that’s where Dogcity comes in!”

The duo first came across the daycare business for their own Great Dane pup, Fergus. They jumped at the chance to purchase the small business in 2013. It quickly took off.

The business grew from a single centre in Kent Town to a second facility in Thebarton – with plans to open a third by the end of 2017. The warehouse spaces include play pens, a grooming bar, a dog treadmill and a spectator area, with fully trained staff supervising the dogs.

“We currently employ 23 people and are in the process of recruiting six people for new roles,” says Dan.

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Dan says they entered the Fast Movers program to gauge on how they were performing, and meet with other small businesses. “It’s always good to check in on your progress in the marketplace, and it’s a great opportunity to meet other like-minded business owners,” says Dan. “’Fast Movers’ actively describes how we operate all the time: we’re not likely to settle for just three locations.”

Dan and Alex are proudly based in SA, and their vision is to create a safer, happier canine community for the whole of Adelaide. “When we’re hearing clients attributing the transformation they’re seeing in their own dog’s confidence and socialisation skills to us, we know we’ve started to make the difference we set out to make,” says Dan.

Their number one piece of advice for young SA entrepreneurs starting up a business?

“Nothing is off limits in Adelaide. Don’t lose sight of what your passion is, and remember how fortunate you are to be doing something you love because not not everyone gets to do that. Anything is possible and your biggest dreams can come true. We used to joke about how amazing it would be to have two, even three facilities, and now here we are!”

Join BDO and Brand South Australia as we celebrate South Australia’s Fast Movers for 2017 at a gourmet breakfast and panel discussion – book now.

This month’s Inside Industries stories made possible by sponsor Bendigo Bank

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