Dog Days (in a Good Way) for Camp Bow Wow
Heidi Ganahl scored a huge payday this week when she closed the purchase of Camp Bow Wow, the nation’s largest franchisor of dog day and overnight care centers, by VCA Inc.
Ganahl will remain CEO of the company she founded 13 years ago, she told the audience Wednesday at a Faegre Baker Daniels conference on franchising in Minneapolis.
The sale was in part about playing defense, she said, because VCA owns, operates and manages the largest network of freestanding veterinary hospitals and labs in the country and so provides a barrier against a bigger chain aligned with other brands acing her out.
But offense is on her mind as well, as VCA’s much larger resources can help her expand. Camp Bow Wow has 152 franchised units.
Despite the sale, don’t expect Ganahl to turn corporate. “If you can’t have fun in the dog business, then there’s something wrong with you,” she told the audience. Her title is “top dog,” as her bone-shaped business card says, and her general counsel’s title is “legal beagle.”
She thinks the approach is one reason for the brand’s strong identity. “You almost have to be a little crazy about it. You have to go over the top to get people’s attention.”