Pet care startup outgrows Lakeside kennel

Preston Cottrell Jr. is expanding his pet boarding business to make room for more animals. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Preston Cottrell Jr. is expanding his pet boarding business to make room for more animals. Photo by Michael Thompson.

A Lakeside dog care business is getting some extra legroom.

Happy Camper Pet Lodge, which launched in 2014, plans to add about 2,000 square feet to its 3,000-square-foot dog care operation at 7300 Impala Drive.

Owner Preston Cottrell Jr. said he has had to turn away business, and the added space will double the facility’s kennel capacity, which currently supports about 40-45 dogs.

“I did not know it would be so successful so quickly,” Cottrell said.

The expansion is just the latest way Happy Camper has responded to high demand for dog day care and boarding.

Last year, the business turned an unused lot on its premises into a 5,500-square-foot fenced-in play area for dogs and covered another one of its play areas in 4,500 square feet of Astroturf. Not having the dogs playing on a dirt and grass field saves Happy Camper from having to wash them in times of dust and mud.

Happy Camper charges $16 for a single day of dog day care and $26 for one night of boarding. The business handles about 30 dogs a day for day care. The number of boarding dogs fluctuates with holidays and seasons. Happy Camper is usually fully booked on summer weekends, when it boards between 40 and 50 dogs.

The venture has become profitable since it launched, Cottrell said, and now has four full-time employees and one part-time employee. Cottrell owns the business along with partners James Sauer and Tom Brown.

The expansion will convert existing unused office space. Dayton Thompson is the architect for the job, and a general contractor has yet to be selected. Cottrell will look to have the expansion completed by the summer.

Other area dog care businesses include Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, which has two Richmond locations, Dog’s Day Inn near Bon Air, and Dogtopia in the West End.

Preston Cottrell Jr. is expanding his pet boarding business to make room for more animals. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Preston Cottrell Jr. is expanding his pet boarding business to make room for more animals. Photo by Michael Thompson.

A Lakeside dog care business is getting some extra legroom.

Happy Camper Pet Lodge, which launched in 2014, plans to add about 2,000 square feet to its 3,000-square-foot dog care operation at 7300 Impala Drive.

Owner Preston Cottrell Jr. said he has had to turn away business, and the added space will double the facility’s kennel capacity, which currently supports about 40-45 dogs.

“I did not know it would be so successful so quickly,” Cottrell said.

The expansion is just the latest way Happy Camper has responded to high demand for dog day care and boarding.

Last year, the business turned an unused lot on its premises into a 5,500-square-foot fenced-in play area for dogs and covered another one of its play areas in 4,500 square feet of Astroturf. Not having the dogs playing on a dirt and grass field saves Happy Camper from having to wash them in times of dust and mud.

Happy Camper charges $16 for a single day of dog day care and $26 for one night of boarding. The business handles about 30 dogs a day for day care. The number of boarding dogs fluctuates with holidays and seasons. Happy Camper is usually fully booked on summer weekends, when it boards between 40 and 50 dogs.

The venture has become profitable since it launched, Cottrell said, and now has four full-time employees and one part-time employee. Cottrell owns the business along with partners James Sauer and Tom Brown.

The expansion will convert existing unused office space. Dayton Thompson is the architect for the job, and a general contractor has yet to be selected. Cottrell will look to have the expansion completed by the summer.

Other area dog care businesses include Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, which has two Richmond locations, Dog’s Day Inn near Bon Air, and Dogtopia in the West End.

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Ethan Chandler
Ethan Chandler
6 years ago

What a fantastic story! Congrats on the success Preston. It’s so great seeing a small business owner doing really well.

Lynette Hammond
Lynette Hammond
6 years ago

My two dogs have been going to Happy Camper day care for about a year now and they LOVE it. They’re pulling on the leash to get there in the morning and come home well exercised and happy. I’ve also used Happy Camper’s boarding services a couple of times and highly recommend Preston and the rest of his excellent staff.

Carroll Hippeard
Carroll Hippeard
6 years ago

Preston really is Richmond’s “Dog Whisperer”…