Scott Weikert has three dogs: Zeus, a coonhound mix; a mutt named Saint; and his latest rescue, a golden retriever named Barney.
Now his career is going to the dogs: He’s opening the first North Carolina location of Hounds Town USA, a growing doggy daycare franchise.
After 14 years in the restaurant industry, Weikert wanted a change.
“I was ready for something new,” said Weikert, who most recently worked at Mission BBQ in Wilmington. “I tried to think of things that I could do and the thing that I’ve learned in my career is customer service, and the things I love the most are my dogs, so I put those two together.
“It just seemed like a natural fit.”
Weikert plans to open Hounds Town USA this fall, in about 5,000 square feet at 1611 Castle Hayne Road.
“The more I looked into Hounds Town, the more it seemed like a good fit with their philosophies and the way they approached things,” he said. “The thing that really appealed to me about their approach is making it a positive experience for the animal as opposed to just trying to do something to make the owner feel good.”
Hounds Town USA was founded 20 years ago by Mike Gould, former NYPD canine handler and commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Department. It offers daycare, boarding and grooming.
Jackie Bondanza, Hounds Town USA president and Gould’s wife, said Hounds Town works to advocate on behalf of the dogs and give the dogs what they need, which is play and interaction with other dogs.
“We’re really for the average working pet parent,” Bondanza said. “We’re not a super high-end brand; we aim to provide affordable pet care to cities like Wilmington that are really booming with young, working families that have a pet or two in the household.”
Hounds Town USA currently has 10 locations, with 13 under development and plans to expand to 30 units before 2023.
Weikert also plans to bring a second and third location to the Wilmington area over the next few years, currently seeking real estate in Brunswick County and Jacksonville.
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