Spotlight: Wag N’ Wash Creates One-Stop for Pets and Owners

Wag N' Wash

Pet owners often have to patronize a lot of different businesses in order to keep their animals healthy and happy. But Wag N’ Wash Pet Food & Bakery is trying to make things a bit easier for pets and their owners.

The company does so by offering a variety of different products and services, ranging from grooming and self-wash services to food, and other pet supplies. The business even offers in-store bakeries at each location that make pet treats on site.

Learn more about this business concept and how it’s helping make pets happier and healthier in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers a full line of products and services aimed at making pets healthier and happier.

Each Wag N’ Wash location features a wide range of products including toys, collars, bedding, natural pet food, treats, supplements and other supplies. That’s in addition to their grooming and self-wash services and trademark pet bakeries.

Business Niche

Providing an all-encompassing experience.

Aside from just offering a huge range of products and services, Wag N’ Wash also takes great pride in its knowledgeable staff. The employees at each store can help customers determine the right products and services for their pets. Dan Remus, co-founder of Wag N’ Wash, explains:

“Our guests treat their companion animals as members of the family and they wish to provide them with the best products and services. Wag N’ Wash gives them everything they need to achieve that, all under one roof.”

How the Business Got Started

From a desire to help their own dog.

Remus and Jef Strauss, who founded the business together in 1999, wanted to create an opportunity to spend more time with their aging Dalmatian, Geni. Remus says:

“We wanted to create a business that would allow her to be by our side and would connect us with other pet loving members of our community.”

Wag N' Wash

Biggest Win

Discovering the benefits of natural pet food.

Remus explains:

“A representative from a pet food distributor would pay us visits and educated us on the horrible ingredients that exist in commercial pet food and of the benefits of all-natural foods. We quickly became advocates of natural foods for our dog Geni and for the companions of our guests. This changed the game for our store, as we moved from just a wash service to a full line retail destination carrying natural foods and supplies for a healthy, natural lifestyle. The business took off then and hasn’t stopped.”

Biggest Risk

Self-funding their first store.

Remus says:

“Banks would not lend us money and told us we were crazy for trying to compete in an industry with national chains like Petsmart and Petco. So we mortgaged our home to start the business we believed so much in, and it paid off! Had it not worked out, we probably would have lost our home.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Increasing brand recognition and supporting growth in new markets.

Wag N' Wash

Business Motto

Give back to the communities they serve.

In each of the communities with Wag N’ Wash franchises, the business works to help local dogs and pet owners in various ways. Remus explains:

“We truly believe that if a business expects to receive from a community, they must be willing to give to that community. We hold adoption fairs and fundraisers in our stores regularly. In 2014, our community outreach resulted in donations totaling over $90,000 to local non-profits that benefit companion animals. Over 100 dogs and cats found their new forever homes last year through adoption fairs in our stores. Since we started hosting in-store adoption fairs, that total has exceeded 2000.”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Image: Wag N’ Wash

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.