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FT Explores Franchise Expo South


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Scenthound founder Tim Vogel with Lucy at Franchise Expo South.

Meet Lucy. She’s the adorable Goldendoodle who’s become the face of Scenthound, the dog grooming concept launched by her owner, Tim Vogel, in 2013 and that’s now franchising and bringing the membership model to dog care.

Perhaps the most popular booth at Franchise Expo South thanks to the friendly snuggles from Lucy, Vogal also believes Scenthound has a strong brand position with its overall canine wellness focus that goes beyond grooming.

“Not all dogs need haircuts,” notes Vogel, but they all need routine care such as bathing and nail trimming, even dental care, which is where Scenthound comes in. The name, an acronym for skin, coat, ears, nails and teeth, describes the various services and the membership model is ideal for franchising, says Vogel. For $25 a month, member dogs get one session including bath, ear cleaning, nail clipping and teeth brushing. There’s other levels and other service packages.

With four West Palm Beach area locations, all company-owned, Vogel says they’ve proved the model and now are initially looking to expand in South Florida.

The dog is most certainly having its day in franchising, with other pet-focused concepts also drawing interest at the franchise expo running through Saturday in Ft. Lauderdale.

Kelly Waugh is the owner of Lucky Dog Bark & Brew, the business she launched in North Carolina in 2012 that's part dog park and part sports bar.

“I’m a big dog lover and football fan, that’s how it started,” says Waugh of the idea to combine an off-leash indoor/outdoor dog park with a sports bar and doggie daycare and boarding business.

“There’s multiple income streams,” she continues of the various services, and location sizes range from 8,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet (she has three company units open in the Charlotte area. Fun events such as Beer and a Bath night on Tuesdays enhance the social aspect, and Waugh says lots of customers who aren’t dog owners come to the sports bar simply to get their dog fix. She’s not the first to combine adult beverages and pups, as Beth Ewen reported last year, but Waugh, who owns five rescue dogs herself, believes she has a strong brand and proven concept. Lucky Dog’s franchise fee is $35,000, and a 5 percent royalty kicks in after six months. The total initial investment range is $416,950-$689,300.

Elsewhere at the expo, a drive-thru convenience store concept is in the midst of relaunching its franchise push after the 62-year-old brand went from a peak of 250 locations down to 27 now open. Farm Stores, which has all of its locations in Florida, has retooled its operations and marketing, refreshed the brand and is poised for growth, says Jorge Hernandez, marketing and field operations manager. “We've moved more toward fresh grocery,” says Hernandez of the concept that lets customers drive up, place their orders and get their groceries loaded in the car. An online ordering app is coming soon and Farm Stores works with third-party delivery services such as UberEats and Postmates to offer delivery.

A new container store model, utilizing repurposed cargo shipping containers, is part of the relaunched franchise effort and will let Farm Stores drop in the self-contained stores on location.

Franchise Expo South runs through Saturday at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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