Congratulations to Woofie’s, a finalist for Superior Service Business of the Year! Post written by Woofie’s owner Amy Reed. The livestream of the 26th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards will premier Friday, November 13, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. on our Facebook Page. View all 2020 SBA Finalists here.
Tell us about your business, how it got started, and how it has evolved into what it is today.
Woofie’s is a professional pet care company offering the combined services of pet sitting, dog walking, and mobile grooming. Woofie’s started in 2004 when my business partner, Leslie Barron, and I saw the need for reliable, personalized pet care. Both of us worked full-time and finding a trusted pet sitter was very challenging. It became very clear that there was a real, unmet need for an upscale, professional pet care company in the Ashburn area.
We quit our corporate jobs and we were able to turn our love of animals into a business where we have fun and love what we do! Being avid animal lovers, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend our days! Leslie and I walked our first dog together on day 1 for $10 and throughout the years we continued to grow our team of trusted pet sitters and build our business one dog walk at a time.
Customer service was our #1 priority and soon, Woofie’s became the top dog in our local community. We quickly realized that our clients also wanted the experience of an upscale grooming salon, without the hassle of taking their pet to the salon. So in 2011, we bought our first van and added mobile grooming to our list of pet care services. Now, our clients have one trusted company for all their pet care needs!
We started franchising in 2019 and today, there are 4 Woofie’s locations throughout Northern Virginia in Ashburn, Reston-Herndon, Leesburg, and South Riding-Aldie. Our incredible franchisees share our company’s values of customer and community service and we couldn’t be more proud of where we are today!
What would it mean for you and your business to win a Small Business Award?
Winning this award would be an honor and an incredible recognition of the great work all the Woofie’s team members have done in Loudoun County for the past 16 years. We’ve been so blessed to have amazing pet sitters, groomers and back-office team members who are constantly working to provide exceptional care to our clients and their pets. Our team loves what they do and this award would serve to validate the positive impact they have had in our local community.
What is the smallest thing that has made the biggest impact on your business?
The smallest decision that has made the biggest impact on our business was the decision we made early on to focus our efforts on a smaller territory. Woofie’s started by serving the Ashburn community rather than focusing on Northern Virginia as a whole. That one decision allowed us to develop closer relationships with our clients and team members because we ourselves lived and worked in Ashburn. We were able to conduct all of our consultations in person, at our client’s homes, and that gave us the ability to give the attention to detail and exceptional service that our clients have come to love.
Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
My mom is the one person who has influenced me the most in my career. From the beginning, she’s been Woofie’s biggest fan and supporter. In fact, my mom was the first person I ever uttered the word, “Woofie’s” to as a possible name for our business. As Woofie’s was evolving, Leslie and I would always run our ideas by her as we counted on her advice and feedback. My mom loved hearing about our developing business and all the wonderful clients and their pets. She would come into town during the busy holidays and help out with back office support as well as walk lots of pups for us! She was able to see the evolution of Woofie’s from just a thought, to bringing on our first client, to buying our first mobile pet spa van, to moving into our Ashburn office, and to our eventual growth via franchising.
What is your favorite thing about running your business in Loudoun County?
My favorite thing about having a business in Loudoun County is being part of the local community. Leslie and I are both residents of Loudoun County and so are the majority of our clients and team members. After 16 years of business, our Woofie’s community has really grown and we consider them part of our extended family. We also love working with local businesses, both pet-related and non pet-related, on events, fundraising, and more.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional soccer player – I was definitely a tomboy!
What is a book that changed your life, and WHY?
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. It is an incredible story about loyalty, friendship and unconditional love. It is also about living in the moment and having the strength to overcome life’s most difficult challenges and pursuing your true passion.
When you’re not at your desk, where can we find you on the weekends/what is another passion you have?
When I’m not working, I love going to the wonderful restaurants and wineries in and around Loudoun County with friends. We especially love the ability to bring our dogs with us to some of the establishments that allow pets!
How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?
We are planning for significant growth these next 5 years. Last year we started Woofie’s Academy, our in-house professional grooming school, so we will continue investing in that endeavor. We started franchising in 2019 and we have 3 incredible franchisees who share our same vision, mission and values. We will always support them to the best of our abilities as we want them to be happy and successful Woofie’s business owners. We plan to expand beyond Northern Virginia and offer Woofie’s franchise opportunities on a national level. And of course, I hope our team in Ashburn has the privilege to provide exceptional pet care services for our clients and their pets for many years to come!
Congratulations again to Woofie’s! Check out their website here.