Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

INDUSTRY FOCUS: PET CARE; but Do They Have to Bring a Toothbrush? If a Husband-and-Wife Team Have Their Way, Local Dogs Will Soon Be off the Couch and on Their Way to Camp

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

INDUSTRY FOCUS: PET CARE; but Do They Have to Bring a Toothbrush? If a Husband-and-Wife Team Have Their Way, Local Dogs Will Soon Be off the Couch and on Their Way to Camp

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTOPHER CALNAN

Husband and wife Jim and Melissa Taketa are teaming up to put their years of coaching experience to good use by opening a dog daycare and boarding franchise.

Melissa Taketa, a former women's basketball coach at Jacksonville University, and JU golf coach Jim Taketa, are the first Northeast Florida operators of the nationally franchised Camp Bow Wow. The company's first Jacksonville location is scheduled to open on Baymeadows Road in early January.

Dogs may be very different from college athletes, but the Taketas expect to use many of the same skills in business as they did coaching -- such as recruiting players.

"As a coach you're selling your program and university to potential student athletes," Melissa Taketa said. "As a business owner you're in essence selling your business and service to potential clients."

Camp Bow Wow will cater to dog owners in Jacksonville, especially those living and working in the Southside. How many? Melissa Taketa said research by the University of North Florida found that there are 6,000 households in the Baymeadows area with at least one dog.

The Taketas are refurbishing a 9,500-square-foot former printing business warehouse for the business, which they expect to accommodate up to 60 dogs at a time. Camp Bow Wow's growing popularity may be an indicator of success to come.

In five years, the franchise has expanded from two locations to 90, according to the Denver-based company. "It really parallels people's active lifestyles," Melissa Taketa said.

The Taketas began considering franchises in May 2004, but kept returning to Camp Bow Wow. "It was structured in a way that we thought it would fit us and our lifestyle," Jim Taketa said. "I think it's easy if you have a passion already."

The couple owns two dogs.

In February, the Taketas signed on with Camp Bow Wow and became the company's 30th franchise owner, paying $40,000 for the right to open Camp Bow Wow locations in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties. They'll also pay the company a monthly royalty that's a percentage of sales.

The Baymeadows facility is the only one planned right now, but the couple said they would consider additional locations in coming years. Camp Bow Wow will employ five to eight workers, they said. …

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