April 30. Today marks the anniversary of the day we closed the California Avenue location that had been in operation for more than 20 years. While we were only the owners there for less than a year, it was still hard to close the door on that run-down, old building for the last time. We had no idea what was in store for us in the weeks, months, and the year ahead.
We loaded up the moving truck and dropped off everything Good Dog owned in the corner of a dirty warehouse in a neighborhood with which we weren’t too familiar. Then, the waiting game began… ironing details out with the landlord, supply delays, contractor delays, the money crunch, and the anticipation of the health department inspection. All the while, Kevin and I were moving house, too. We joked that when you move, you should plant yourself into something far more stressful because the purchase of our home, the move, all of it was nothing compared to the stresses of the Good Dog build-out.
We kept as much staff on during the closure as possible (a move that we’d later regret - we would’ve been smarter having them apply for unemployment), I managed the move of the house, Kevin went to his day job and we spent every evening at Good Dog working on things. Often until midnight or later. Every day for 10 weeks. It was NOT fun. We pulled it all together for our open house last June, there were projects still in progress, but we put on our game faces and welcomed people to tour our new facility, our new baby. Issues aside, we were still very proud of what we had built.
A week later, we had our inspection and even being as prepared as we were, we had a long list of changes that needed to be made before we could open. The mad dash was on to retrofit the small dog fence, make some minor adjustments, and caulk everything - SO much caulk. We did it. We opened on July 2, 2019, and things ramped up very slowly. The remainder of 2019 was equally as tough – we lost quite a few of our previous clients due to the move and our extended downtime and it felt like we were starting over. The holiday season gave us new hope as we were very well-booked for boarding and the daycare was filling up daily. Hope restored! January and February 2020 were strong. Our numbers were looking good - we were hitting our pre-move target and it seemed to be getting better every week. Then, COVID-19 became a concern. So much so that we had to close our doors again. I’ll admit, I broke down a little. We’ve worked so hard on this business, so we have to remain vigilant and hold on until we are able to open again because we believe that we have something great in Good Dog.
As we look back on the last year on the anniversary of the closing of our California Avenue location, we look forward with hope and optimism that one day soon, Good Dog will be full of dogs and we’ll all be back on track.