Montgomery Business Journal

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Pet Palace MBJ

Pet Palace Hotels Pampers Dogs and Cats

May 2016
By David Zaslawsky   
Photography by Robert Fouts

After opening in November 2014, Pet Palace Hotels was in the right place at the right time when Pike Road Kennel closed its doors in Mathew on Dec. 31, 2015.

The closure definitely gave her fledging business a boost, according to Pet Palace Hotels owner Kelly Hudson Hellums.

Her location off Interstate 85 in rapidly growing Pike Road and just a handful of miles from East Montgomery subdivisions is “ideal,” Hudson Hellums said. Her 6,000-plus square-foot facility is next door to Pike Road CrossFit, which is run by her brother Jacob Hudson. You may know her father Joe Hudson – owner of dozens of Joe Hudson’s Collision Center locations in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. It was her father who sparked the idea of a dog/cat resort when he boarded a dog in Mississippi.

And her business is a pet resort with a lot of pampering included. The pets are called guests and cats are boarded in condos while dogs stay in suites of various sizes. The dogs, who are boarded and the ones in doggie daycare, spend most of their time with their friends outside in a massive outdoor playground with ramps and tunnels – weather permitting. For the dogs who don’t play nicely with others, there are four large, individual runs outside. At least two employees watch the dogs playing outside or inside and often it is three staffers.

There is also a gigantic indoor play area that might be larger than half a basketball court.

Now the guests, according to the website, are escorted to a private area for meals and naps. The dog suites for boarding range from $28 for a 4-foot-by-5-foot site to $46 for a suite that is 9 feet by 5 feet with $30 and $32 options available. There are crates available for $17 a night. Boarding accounts for about 40 percent of the company’s revenue with grooming and doggie daycare each generating about 30 percent.

Dogs being boarded also participate in the facility’s doggie daycare, which “is a really good deal,” Hudson Hellums said. Doggie daycare, which typically has 24 guests, is $10 for a half day and $12 for a full day. In addition to daily prices, there are weekly and monthly rates.

“When people know they are going out of town, I want us to be the first person they think of as far as boarding,” Hudson Hellums said. She wants people going to a soccer tournament or going to the beach for a weekend to bring their dogs here. Right now, the business is seasonal with busy weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s when she could board 65 or more dogs and cats. Summertime is fairly steady, but not as full as peak holiday weeks. Spring break is another hectic time.

With 47 suites for dogs, the facility can handle 96 dogs – two in a suite – plus there are 25 crates and nine cat condos.

She said she frequently is asked how many times the dogs are brought outside. “Well, they stay out,” is her answer compared with a veterinarian’s office, which may take boarded dogs outside two or three times a day. “Everybody is out playing.”

Pet Palace Hotels “is extremely different than a vet’s office, according to Hudson Hellums.

The primary difference – there are no sick dogs at her business while veterinarians’ “main concern is sick animals,” Hudson Hellums said.  “We’re not a vet’s office. We focus on healthy and well dogs.”

Dogs and cats must have their required vaccinations to board at Pet Palace Hotels or be in the doggie daycare, but there is an on-call vet, Dr. Kim Ousley. She works at Eastmont Animal Clinic and has her own mobile service called House Call Vet.

Although the facility is in Pike Road, Hudson Hellums has clients from Wetumpka, Prattville, Millbrook, Eclectic and even Fort Deposit not to mention Pike Road and Montgomery.

The Fort Deposit client “loves our groomer and they love when they board,” Hudson Hellums said about the owners of Dolly.

The staff posts pictures on Facebook and like to show before and after photos of dogs who have been groomed. Pet Palace Hotels grooms a dog from the humane shelter every week for free and posts photos.

Name
Pet Palace Hotels

Employees
10

First opened
2014

Services
Dog/Cat boarding, doggie daycare and grooming

Location
565-A Pike Road

Website
petpalacehotels.com

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