Earth Pups: Chicago Woman Fulfills Dream of Green Doggy Daycare
Julie Thomas had been working for LaSalle Bank for ten years when she got her final assignment. She was transferred to Chicago to sell the bank-essentially, to sell herself out of a job.
In that situation, most people of Thomas’ ilk would have begun the search for another corporate career. But with new-found freedom and a little extra cash, Thomas took a different route. She decided to follow her idiosyncratic dream– to start an eco-friendly doggy daycare. Earth Pups was born.
Thomas’ dream started with the two dogs she calls her babies. Since adopting them from a rescue agency, she had nursed a budding dream of owning her own dog day care.
“I never thought I’d have the courage,” she said. “But then, you get handed the choice. I could jump back on the corporate treadmill… or, I could do what I want to do.”
Thomas’ husband supported her decision and desire to build her business her own way.
“I knew I’d be here 24/7,” she said. “So I wanted the standards to be something I’ be happy with. We live in a green way, so we built this green for ourselves.”
Though everything from the paneling to the paper is eco-friendly, Thomas and her husband don’t make that the selling point of their business. Their clients are not a niche bunch of hippy dog owners. Instead, Thomas and her husband market Earth Pups as a specialized small dog care facility.
“I don’t think [the fact that we are a green establishment] is attracting people. It’s not the number one priority [for them],” she said.
Instead, the business targets doting owners of small dogs. Thomas determined her clientele and location with the aid of a consultant who owns several dog day-cares. He offered great advice but he also happened to be against the idea of going green-business owners rarely make up the cost of being eco-friendly. But Thomas was committed.
“This is important to me and this is my business,” she said.