Chad Clough – Camp Bow Wow
For many busy dog owners, finding an important daycare or overnight care provider is just as important as finding a quality veterinarian.
“People spend a lot of money on their dogs, and knowing that, we need to provide a safe, fun experience that dog parents expect when paying premium prices,” says Camp Bow Wow Director of Construction Chad Clough.
Since 2000, Camp Bow Wow has been providing fun and dependable care that pet owners and their dogs love, and as the demand for trustworthy pet care grows, so does the Colorado-based company.
Right now, Camp Bow Wow has more than 205 locations in 40 states and Canada, with over 50 in development. To bring them to fruition, Clough is working with the company’s real estate department to find the best locations. He’s also helping the construction team complete projects quickly and efficiently.
“As we continue to grow, we need new employees, and I’m currently in the process of hiring qualified construction managers,” he notes.
There are countless dog breeds, from the smallest—chihuahua—to the biggest—Great Dane. Clough says that the ideal Camp Bow Wow location is between 5,000 and 8,000 square feet, so there’s room for different dogs.
“We require the space to accommodate dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities, and we work closely with our franchise owners to find a great location,” he says.
Right now, the company opens about 15 to 20 Camp Bow Wow locations each year. Most locations are franchises, and Clough says the goal is to eventually open 30 locations per year.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues slowed down some work, and the biggest cause of delays has been getting permits from municipalities. Approvals that used to take a month are now taking between six to nine months, which has made it hard for Camp Bow Wow to keep its goal of turning around a location in 12 to 14 weeks. Clough says the team is speeding up processes to make up for delays in permitting.
The company is undergoing a massive search for single-floor spaces with room for indoor and outdoor areas that can be quickly transformed by Camp Bow Wow with the goal of eventually having locations in all 50 states and an international presence.
Finding the sweet spot
Clough says that Camp Bow Wow has “a smart and dedicated development team” and he’s hoping to hire more construction managers in 2023—two people were hired to the team in 2022.
On average, each Camp Bow Wow contains 80+ Cabins for dogs, including “teacup” Cabins for the smallest pups. Pet owners pay between $50 and $75 a night for a stay.
Several configurations of Cabins make it possible to serve everything from a single pup to multiple dogs from the same household. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, enrichment services, grooming, luxury suites, and live webcams so owners can check in on their pets.
“On average, we’re spending about $85 a square foot at each location, though that depends on the market,” Clough says.
As director of construction, Clough travels to sites at the beginning and end of each project. He also manages roughly 10 projects at a time. While many of the locations are in pre-existing spaces, each space is modified to match the company’s aesthetics and standards, Clough says.
Working for and loving dogs
It’s not hyperbole to say that construction is in Clough’s blood. His family has been in the building industry since the early 1900s. In fact, before the invention of the automobile, everyone in the Denver and Boulder, Colorado area bought building materials from his family’s business.
By the 1980’s, most of the businesses had sold and Clough soon realized the construction industry was going to be a stronghold in his career.
In 1995, when he was 28 years old, Clough started his own general contracting business that focused on tenant improvement projects. During the economic downtown that began in 2008, Clough put his contracting business aside and built a solar dependent, off-the-grid house in Baja California in Mexico. He lived in a remote area that lacked law enforcement, so he started his own security company called 3ZERO3.
“I immersed myself in the culture, learned Spanish and built beautiful relationships in the region,” Clough recalls.
Living in Mexico wasn’t in the long-term plans. Clough has a son who lives in Colorado, so, he returned to the U.S. and started working for Camp Bow Wow in April 2018.
“Although we are in the business of making dogs happy, in construction, I feel like I spend a lot of my time herding cats,” Clough said with a laugh. “I never expected to be in this space, but my love of dogs led me to this position, and I’m grateful that I get fulfill that passion in my career.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. II 2023 Edition here.
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