Calming shampoos, blueberry facials and pillowy suites perfect for a cozy, afternoon nap – it sounds like an experience fit for the most discriminating spa-goer.
And it is — if that spa-goer is four-legged.
“A growing number of pet owners want the absolute best in grooming and boarding for their fur babies today,” says Amanda Floyd, founder of The Royal Treatment Pet Manor in Baton Rouge. “For us, it’s about making them feel comfortable and knowing their pets are in good hands.”
Launched in 2011, the Royal Treatment is part of a national trend that has seen a big increase in high end grooming, boarding and day care services for dogs and cats. Floyd first conceived the idea of a lux pet business while an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University. Eight years after opening, the Royal Treatment has grown to a 7,000 square foot facility with 18 employees and a database of 4,000 customers.
Floyd is a longtime animal lover who got her start as a dog groomer in college, and even then, she had an inkling that high end pet services could succeed in south Louisiana. As a groomer, she witnessed first-hand a growing interest among pet owners about high quality, breed-specific grooming and comfort boarding. Such services were booming across the country, as millennials and empty nesters adopted a new level of seriousness about their pets’ care. According to the non-profit American Pet Products annual survey, pet owners will spend an estimated $75 billion on their furry friends in 2019, up from $45 billion in 2009.
In 2010, Floyd submitted her idea to the Louisiana Business and Technology Center’s Student Incubator at LSU. Business experts there helped her refine the concept, identify her target market and create a solid business plan that she could take to lenders and investors. A local community bank took a chance on Floyd, lending her the start-up capital needed to launch the business. She opened in a 2,000 square foot space in a busy commercial corridor in Baton Rouge in 2011.
From the beginning, Floyd’s goal was to build a clientele of repeat customers who didn’t mind paying higher prices for roomier overnight suites and detailed, personalized grooming and pet care. The Royal Treatment’s reputation grew, especially among dog owners with anxious pooches. Floyd and her team developed a reputation for working with pets that needed special attention.
After seven years in business, Floyd had outgrown her space and was ready to expand. In 2018, she converted a former doll museum near LSU into a larger grooming and boarding operation with chandeliers, lush indoor and outdoor play areas and roomy overnight quarters. The space was more than triple the size of her original location, and was flanked by high net worth neighborhoods. The move allowed her to increase her capacity for boarding, grooming and daycare. It also enabled her to add a full suite of services for cats, including two-story kitty condos with climbing features and fish tanks.
“Very few businesses like this around the country offer both dog and cat services,” says Floyd. “Felines are often forgotten but there are a lot of people out there who really want the best for their cats.”
Today, Floyd continues to distinguish her brand from a growing number of dog day care “camps” whose brands are built on play time with other animals. Floyd’s clients are concerned about their animals having fun, but they want more control in their pets’ experience. Floyd encourages them to build the kind of experience they’re looking for with an a la carte menu of add-ons, including suites with TVs and owner cameras, skin and coat treatments, raised beds and themed packages that deliver extra play time, cuddle time or primping.
“We really believe in letting our clients design their own highly personal experience with us,” says Floyd. “It enables us to give them exactly what they need when they have to leave their fur babies.”
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