An interview with Layne Pollard, owner of Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Gurnee.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
A: Central Bark is an interactive day care facility for dogs where they get to socialize with other dogs and people and exercise in supervised indoor and outdoor play groups, based on their size and temperament. In addition to doggy day care, we offer overnight stays, grooming, training and a retail boutique.
Q: What did you do before starting the business?
A: I was a project manager for a watch company for over 20 years.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: Due to the declining financial condition of the company I was with, I no longer saw a future there. Rather than go to work for someone else again, I wanted my own business. I researched franchise opportunities and decided that Central Bark would be a good fit for me. I have always loved dogs and this company had a proven track record as it has 27 stores and has had more than 1.6 million dog visits.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: Trying to market to potential customers who travel to/from work along Highway 41 near our business.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: I love being with the dogs and getting to know the great people who own them.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: Not at all. When I was a teenager I worked in several restaurants and thought I would own my own restaurant one day.
Q: How did you come up with the name of the business?
A: We bought into a franchise so the business was already named.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: I'm still a rookie business owner myself but I would say be prepared to work very long hours.
• Every Monday we feature a small, suburban business. We want to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at firstname.lastname@example.org.