Roger Ford and David Mackstaller are honored with an Arizona Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award.
By NICOLE GREASON
Citizen Business Writer
Roger Ford and David Mackstaller knew they were on to something when they combined ideas from the hotel, day-care and kennel industries to create an upscale hotel for dogs and cats called PETsHotel Plus in Tucson. The business caters to pet owners who must leave their beloved animals behind when they travel.
The venture started two years ago and has capitalized on the estimated $16 billion pet-related goods industry in the United States. PetsHotel Plus has experienced growth of about 50 percent year over year, Ford said.
For their unusual idea and entrepreneurship, Ford and Mackstaller, co-managers of PETsHotel Plus International, have been given the Arizona Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award in the services category.
The award recognizes entrepreneurs in nine categories who have demonstrated excellence and success in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their business and community. In addition to the service category, awards are given in the areas of manufacturing, leisure/entertainment, real estate, technology/e-business, wholesale/retail and junior achievement. There also are spirit of entrepreneurship and master entrepreneur categories. PETsHotel Plus was the only Tucson company to win.
At PETsHotel Plus, owners may put their dogs in deluxe suites equipped with beds and televisions. Owners can send videotapes for their pets to watch. The suites also have speaker phones so absent owners can talk to their pets directly.
In addition, the pet hotel at 4001 E. Speedway Blvd. has activities for little Fido and Fluffy, including Yappy Hour, Bizzy Bone and a fully equipped play area.
“This (PETsHotel Plus) is a precision execution of a good business idea. We believe we’ve developed a prototype for similar operations all over the country,” Ford said.
He added that his company is in the “courting stage” with other companies to take the PETsHotel Plus concept nationwide. He declined to give details. But he said he’s confident that the formula is right to have hundreds of PETsHotel Plus operations in the coming years.
“We don’t operate like a typical kennel. We operate like a combination of a hotel and a day care. We provide a comfortable stay, recreation and constant attention for pets. We also offer safety and the pets like it,” he said.
As an Arizona recipient of an entrepreneur award, PETsHotel Plus is eligible to participate in Ernst & Young’s National Entrepreneur of the Year Awards competition in November.
PHOTO: XAVIER GALLEGOS/Tucson Citizen
While most dogs are housed in roomy cages, some owners pop for deluxe accommodations such as these.