Interview With a Doggie Mogul
It's always an honor being able to interview someone who has had success in building a large and successful business. Heidi Ganahl, the founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, is just that. Listen in to hear her success story from tragedy to huge success and how she has created the largest franchised company of Pet Daycare and overnight stay facilities in the nation and how her new ventures may just be of interest to you.
Heidi Ganahl is the founder, President and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, the largest pet care franchise in North America and the author of TALES FROM THE BARK SIDE: My Journey from Wayward Stray to Top Dog.
Through her personal and professional tragedies, from the loss of her young husband to losing a million dollar insurance settlement, Ganahl has faced extraordinary adversity. She responded by turning her life-long passion for dogs into Camp Bow Wow, the nation’s largest pet care franchise company, and created the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs.
Through her experiences, she has gleaned personal wisdom and business acumen she shares in her new book, TALES FROM THE BARK SIDE.
Ganahl and her first husband Bion conceived the idea of starting a doggy day and overnight care business born out of their love for dogs and the need for a market alternative to the bleak conditions of the traditional kennel environment. With this motive, Camp Bow Wow was born. The concept was completely novel and in many areas of the country remains so to this day - the philosophy is simple, Camp Bow Wow is a place where a dog can be a dog, or where a pet can be a pet in the case of Home Buddies, Camp Bow Wow’s new in home pet care alternative.
Unfortunately, shortly after Heidi and Bion finished developing the Camp Bow Wow business plan, Heidi’s family treated Bion to a surprise private flight in an open cockpit stunt plane for his 25th birthday. While doing a fly by, the plane sudden dove into the ground killing Bion and the pilot on impact.
The untimely death had a paralyzing effect on Heidi and sent her into a downward spiral – albeit temporary. In an effort to jump-start her life, she hastily got remarried to a man she later found out had severe addiction problems and became pregnant with her first daughter. She then lost almost the entire $1 million settlement from Bion’s crash in a complicated custody battle for her daughter, unreturned loans to friends and family, a series of bad investments, and the failure of two start-up businesses.
Finally, in 2000, as a single mom with only $83,000 of the dwindling settlement left, Heidi was encouraged by her brother to take a leap of faith and start Camp Bow Wow. She invested the last of her savings -- $83,000 -- and opened the first camp in Denver in the Fall of 2000.
In 2003 Ganahl started franchising the concept and has sold over 250 franchise businesses. Today, Camp Bow Wow is the largest women owned franchise and pet industry business, the largest doggy day care company in the world and a $40 million leader in the $47 billion United States pet sector.