Chamber Insider Blog

Spotlight on the 2023 SBA Finalists: Dogtopia of Purcellville

Join us in congratulating the finalists for the 29th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards! Dogtopia of Purcellville is a finalist in the Superior Service Business of the Year category. Get your tickets for the big event before they’re sold out, Friday, November 10, 2023. Event Details Here

Tell us the story of your business/nonprofit and how it’s evolved.

We created Dogtopia of Purcellville to pursue our dream of working with dogs and serving neighboring families in Loudoun County. The COVID pandemic delayed our construction and we opened our doors in August March 2020, our aim was to provide services that made a quality of life difference to Western Loudoun County families with dogs. While our first year was challenging, we grew steadily through our second and third years. We exceed Dogtopia standards because of our continuous improvement model where every member of our staff provides an improvement suggestion every 2 weeks. Our customer satisfaction metrics are consistently between the very best and top 3% of all 240 Dogtopia locations worldwide. Our best advertising is word of mouth from our customers, but we actively support the community with a focus on schools and hero (a.k.a. service) dogs.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your team?

Near the end of our second year we were struggling to keep pace with the hourly wage increases and benefits such as college tuition restaurants around us could offer. Our initial staff when we first opened in August 2020 voted to donate 20% of all tips collected to the Dogtopia Foundation – the charitable arm 501(C)3 of Dogtopia. At a staff meeting late in the second year I asked the staff if they preferred to keep those tips since we were unable to pay them more. One young woman on our staff spoke up and said, “Wait! Why all or nothing?” and then recommended we continue donating 10% of collected tips to the Foundation. The vote was unanimous. I was and am still humbled by that.

In what ways do you give back to the Loudoun community?

Dogtopia of Purcellville partnered with 28 businesses/organizations in the past year with charity donations or events.  We are particularly proud of our relationship with Canine Companions formed at the Purcellville 4th of July parade that has evolved into a collaboration at the national level between them and the Dogtopia Foundation.  We have funded three of our five service dogs through Canine Companions and enjoy a close relationship with the National Capital Region President and local Purcellville resident Jacqueline Cheshire.

What would it mean to you and your business to win a Small Business Award?

Winning the award would be validation that our approach to quality is working.  It would make our dedicated staff incredibly proud and it would make many of our customers – among our staunchest supporters as happy as our staff. It would also change our advertising content a bit because we will be telling people about it 😊.

Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

My Grandfather.

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

An entrepreneur.

If you’re not in the office, where can we find you/what is another passion you have?

Playing with our grandchildren.

How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?

We will continue our focus on quality and grow another 30-50%. The leaders we have developed will carry more of the operational workload while we work on (not in) the business. Once we have met our M-F occupancy goals, we will likely be more appointment driven with less drop-ins and will establish a waitlist.

Check out the Dogtopia website here!