Three operators who are cleaning up
By David Farakas in Franchise Times
Published on: May 13, 2016
When Bill Wolfe’s partner was transferred by his company from Phoenix to Seattle, Wolfe picked up where he left off. But it’s tough for a real estate broker to break into a new town. A job selling tax software didn’t pan out, either.
Meanwhile he and his partner, Andrew Held, installed a commercialized washtub in their basement to bathe their dogs. There wasn’t a pet shop/dog-wash service like the one they’d used in Phoenix near their Queen Anne neighborhood. In fact, there wasn’t a Wag N’ Wash in the Pacific Northwest.
That struck them as odd given the city’s plethora of pet owners. Seattle, by the way, is very dog-friendly; canines are welcome in many businesses, including restaurants. Dogs reportedly even outnumber children. Sensing opportunity, Wolfe and Held began researching pet care businesses.
Last year the couple agreed to open three Wag N’ Wash, an all-natural pet shop that features an in-store dog bakery. “We’re in the process of getting an SBA loan and a revolving line of credit,” says Wolfe, the managing partner. The cost to open a Wag N Wash runs from $383,539 to $522,630.
The first opens early next year in a mixed residential/commercial property in affluent Queen Anne. Initially, the property’s asset manager wasn’t impressed with Wag N’ Wash, which she hadn’t heard of. Restaurants and an urgent-care center were bidding for the 3,500 square-foot space.
Coincidentally, she lived in Denver, where Wag N’ Wash is headquartered. Wolfe convinced her to visit a local outlet. “After she had seen the product, the difference in her attitude was night and day,” he reports. “We lucked out.”
Wolfe says the rent is $13,000 a month, or $156,000 a year. Considering Wag N’ Wash’s average gross sales at franchise locations was $1.3 million in 2014 (according to the franchise disclosure documents), Wolfe’s rent may exceed a risky 10 percent of sales. Yet he believes the Queen Anne store will ring up $2 million, becoming the highest volume in the system.
Wolfe and Held also plan to open units in the West Seattle and Green Lake districts of Seattle.