The Findley Group

Dogtopia Partners with Findley Group

Dogtopia's Partnership with Findley Group Gives Franchise Industry Something to Bark about the Full-Service Dog Day Care Concept Dubbed the `Next Big Thing’ in $38 Billion Pet Care Industry


Tysons Corner, VA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/30/2007 -- With consumers spending more than $38 billion to pamper their pets each year, a prominent franchise consulting and development company has “spotted” Dogtopia, a full-service dog day care, spa and boarding facility, as a standout and potential “leader of the pack” of pet-care related franchise concepts.

In an announcement that speaks volumes to Dogtopia’s market potential, the Findley Group, led by the former president and franchise-builder of Curves International, Gary Findley, has chosen to invest in Dogtopia and provide sales and marketing support to help take the company to the next level in franchising. The addition of Dogtopia brings to eight the number of innovative and exciting franchise concepts that the Findley Group has chosen to work with. Under Findley’s direction as president, Curves International experienced growth in franchises from 50 locations in 1996 to more than 8,000 in 2006.

“With more than 43 percent of U.S. households owning a dog, the demand for quality, upscale day care and boarding facilities is on the rise,” said Gary Findley. “Because of its strong management, quality systems and its niche in pet-care, we believe Dogtopia has tremendous potential to become the leader in the dog day care franchise category. We plan to build on the strong foundation that the founder has laid to take Dogtopia to the next level.”

Findley was referring to Amy Nichols, who established the concept and opened the first location in June 2002. Under Nichols leadership, vision and drive, Dogtopia has experienced overwhelming success and growth that led to the initial franchise offering of the concept in April 2005. The franchise company, Happy to Be Here, Inc., backed by the Findley Group, anticipates that 25 Dogtopia franchises will be in operation or in development by 2008.

"What makes us so different is our ability to provide dogs with a fun and positive experience," Nichols said. “We see dogs as true members of our customers’ families, and we operate our locations in much the same way that child care centers operate. Our customers love their dogs, and want to know they are in a safe, happy place while they’re at work or away, as opposed to leaving their dogs at home alone or in a secluded kennel environment. We give the dogs as much love, care and attention as they get at home with their families.”

To create even more peace of mind for its customers, Dogtopia employs web cam technology that allows the dogs’ owners to check on their pets at any time. Their Dogtopia Web Cam logs more than 50,000 hits each month.

Barking up the right tree
Currently, three Dogtopia franchises operate in Houston, TX, Bethesda, Maryland and Tysons Corner, Virginia, and three more are set to open soon in Chicago, IL, Alexandria, VA and Orange County, CA. The typical location cares for up to 100 dogs per day with a ratio of one caregiver per 10-15 dogs. Locations range in size from 6,000-8,000 square feet and include a gymnasium, lounge and toy box area.

All Dogtopia locations feature bright yellow, green, and blue walls and are designed with the feel of an upbeat, upscale spa atmosphere. At $33 per day for dog day care service, hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11am – 2pm on Sundays. Owners may opt to bring their own food or Dogtopia will provide during the twice daily feedings. All dogs undergo evaluations that include a health assessment, vaccination verification, and a temperament test to insure that the dog is social and comfortable in large groups.

“For us, the strongest testament to our quality of service is a happy dog,” Nichols said. “When the customers walk up to Dogtopia, these dogs are literally pulling their owners in the door. That’s the kind of thing that gives our customers the peace of mind they need. They’re not worried that their dogs are at home alone depressed or acting out. They’re at Dogtopia, having a blast! ”

Dogtopia offers an affordable franchise opportunity ideal for dog enthusiasts with business or marketing experience, particularly former corporate executives who understand the careful balance between being your own boss and following a proven business model. The franchise fee is $35,000 and the investment range to open a Dogtopia is between $140,000 to $240,000. Dogtopia supports franchisees with initial step-by-step training on-site and at corporate headquarters that includes site selection, facility layout and other guidance to help them run a successful business.

With a passionate culture committed to giving back, Nichols has created a permanent non-profit arm of the company, known as K-9 Support, Inc., to support working dogs, such as military dogs, rescue dogs and Seeing Eye dogs. Annual K-9 Support Dog Wash events raise funds to send care packages to K-9 Handlers and their working dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2006, Dogtopia has sent more than two tons of packages to units in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.

“We try to make a difference in the lives of dogs all over the world, whether they are working dogs, dogs in shelters, or dogs in our care. Nichols said. “We’re not out to become the biggest dog day care franchise. We want to be the highest quality pet care provider, and that takes slow, strategic growth. We are in it for the long haul and are committed to helping our franchisees open high quality locations across the country.”

About Dogtopia™
Dogtopia™, founded in 2002, began offering franchises in 2005. Dogtopia prides itself on being a place where pets are valued as family and¬ where dogs enjoy endless playtime and spa treatments in a positive environment. Dog owners have the assurance of leaving their beloved pets in the hands of trained professionals. Dogtopia™ staff willingly nurtures each pet with attention and love. Each location offers a variety of fun activities, sociable training and comfortable boarding for dogs of all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities and temperaments. For franchise information, visit

About The Findley Group
Founded in 2004, the Findley Group is a franchise consulting and development company led by the former president and franchise-builder of Curves International, Gary Findley. Under Findley’s direction as president, Curves International experienced growth in franchises from 50 locations in 1996 to more than 8,000 in 2006. Currently, the Findley Group is working with eight innovative and exciting companies who have unique offerings for today’s marketplace. The Findley Group specializes in bringing new business concepts to the market and developing them into complete franchise offerings. For more information, please visit