Dogtopia Gets PE Partner

Dogtopia, a leading national dog daycare and spa franchise, announced today it has entered into a strategic partnership with Thomas Franchise Solutions, Ltd. (TFS), an investment firm dedicated to guiding and growing select unique franchise concepts. With the new partnership, Dogtopia plans to expand its brand to more than 400 locations across the United States and Canada over the next 7 years.

“At Dogtopia, we have experienced year-over-year growth with our proven business model, and we know the brand has tremendous potential for accelerated expansion,” said Amy Nichols, chief executive officer of Dogtopia. “By partnering with TFS, Dogtopia is now poised to become the leading dog daycare and spa franchise in North America, and we could not be more excited to take our company to the next level.”

The TFS partnership enables Dogtopia to strengthen its brand by investing in a new system-wide point-of-sale system (POS), an online university to enhance training, increased national marketing efforts to drive brand awareness and sales, and additional home office team members to enable superior support. Furthermore, a greater emphasis will be put on accelerating Dogtopia�s retail offerings to help drive store revenue for franchisees.

“Upon being introduced to Dogtopia, we instantly recognized the passion for personalized care and exceptional customer service, both of which have propelled the company to be a successful, growing franchise for more than 10 years,” said Peter H. Thomas, chairman and CEO of Thomas Franchise Solutions, Ltd. “As a new partner and a future Dogtopia franchisee, we have made it our mission to position the company for success today and in the future.”

TFS was founded in January 2012 by Peter H. Thomas, and Dogtopia is the first franchise concept in its portfolio. As the past chairman and founder of Century 21 Real Estate Canada, Ltd., Thomas has been recognized as one of the leading developers and investors of his time in North America. He formed TFS to make equity capital investments in growth stage companies that have franchising as their core expansion strategy. In addition to providing capital, TFS also offers a strategic advisory group to best guide its partners to accelerated franchise development and a marketing group to execute franchise development strategies.

To fuel growth, Dogtopia is now seeking regional developers to build the brand in select markets across the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago, Dallas, Calgary, and South Florida. Candidates should have an affinity for dogs and the skills to grow a successful business within a proven franchise model. Regional developers will be required to open at least one store within the first year of signing, then develop additional stores during a scheduled development period, either by opening and operating more units themselves or by recruiting franchisees for their region.

Since Dogtopia launched in 2002, it has grown to 25 locations nationwide and currently has four additional locations in various stages of development to open by the end of this year. Dogtopia’s design mirrors that of a chic, upscale spa. Laid out in a similar manner to a children’s daycare facility, Dogtopia has multiple playrooms to suit every personality and size. In addition to daycare and boarding, it also offers a spa, a self-service dog wash, and a boutique to pamper dogs of all shapes and sizes. Dogtopia’s clients enjoy an open layout with play equipment and special rubber flooring to ease pain on joints, prevent slipping, and provide a safer play area. The founder and CEO, Amy Nichols, was winner of the Brava! Women In Business Achievement Award as SmartCEO 2011 recipient; was named the Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine in 2006; is a University of Maryland Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship lecturer; and founded K-9 Support, a charity helping police dogs and military dogs around the world.

October 1, 2012