As the pet care industry continues to expand, franchisees are spoilt for choice.
When Edward Pike sought to reenter the franchising world, he wanted a franchise outside of retail. Among dozens, he chose PetWellClinic, and will soon be the owner of five locations in the Fort Myers area of Florida.
“I looked at several franchises and there was always something I didn’t feel comfortable with,” he said. “And then I found PetWellClinic.”
A goal of PetWell is to provide affordable basic veterinary care in the vein of a MinuteClinic, which does the same for humans. They provide a variety of packages for pets of all ages, including preventative care such as rabies vaccinations. All of this can be done with walk-in appointments.
“The hope is that diseases like parvovirus can be virtually eliminated if you have enough people going into a clinic on a regular basis,” said Pike.
After talking with founder Dr. Sam Meisler, Pike “really liked” the business model. He didn’t see anything wrong with the financials, had a clear picture of the business, and just in general enjoyed talking to the people. PetWell was “Amazon-proof” since it was outside the retail space. All in all, he found the culture and people welcoming and comfortable from day one, he said.
During this talk with Meisler, Pike mentioned his volunteering at a local animal shelter training dogs to help them get ready for adoption.
“Ideally, I wanted something that allowed me to still do that,” he said. “I’ve also got my own two ruffians in the house,” meaning his German Shepherd and Dogo Argentino.
The hope is to bring the two together in some way, such as future events at PetWell for the shelter. Pike also sees PetWell as an innovator in the space and not “yet another restaurant.”
His experience with franchising helped Pike make those decisions.Shortly after completing graduate school, he moved to the U.K. while working with a manufacturing company. After 10 years, the company asked him to move back the U.S.
“I had just met my future bride a couple months prior,” he said. “I said, ‘No, I don’t want to go.’ They said, ‘Well you won’t have a job anymore if you don’t go.’ I guess I was unemployed then.”
He used the newfound unemployment to realize the dream of owning his own business. While shopping one day at a CeX, an electronics franchise in the UK, he asked the clerk about franchising. However, the financial statements became “indecipherable," he said, even to seasoned business owners, after the company founder passed away. Within a year, Pike sold his CeX locations, but kept the idea of owning a business in the back of his mind.
Due to Hurricane Ian last September, his first clinic opening was delayed. But by January, he had found a suitable space and was preparing to sign a lease.
PetWell has 27 clinics open across the U.S. “There’s a lot of room in the space for PetWell,” he said.