In just eight years, she’s turned a fledgling company into the second-largest woman-owned business in the Piedmont Triad, according to the Triad Business Journal.
The numbers are impressive: more than 20,000 clients, 187 employees (soon to be 200 after the first of next year), three full-service locations (one in Greensboro, two in Winston-Salem) and a grooming shop/school in Clemmons.
Kim Vaughn started Ruff Housing Dog Daycare and Lodging after spending years as an actuary/human resources executive and getting a little restless two years after becoming a stay-at-home mom.
“I was kind of just looking,” she told me recently. “And I did know I really wanted to do something in pet care because you know that’s where my passion was.”
A friend of a friend told her about a small doggie daycare called “Ruff Housing” for sale on Whitt Street near Thruway Center in Winston-Salem. She bought the place and almost immediately added overnight lodging.
“I mean that was within the first few months of owning the business because our clients were requesting it,” she says. “They wanted a place for their dogs to say overnight when they were on vacation.”
In the day care portion of the business, dogs are separated according to size and play style. They get to play -- fully supervised -- indoors or in a fenced-in area outdoors depending on the weather. There’s also an “enrichment area” that features some agility training and exercise equipment.
Her customers run the full gamut.
“It’s just anybody who’s busy,” she says. “They may be moms who are taking their kids on all these errands all day. They may be people who are working long hours. We have a lot of people who work at the hospitals.”
There are two levels of lodging: the basic bedroom suites and the “luxury” suites. The basic bedrooms consist of partially-glassed-in “rooms” with cots.
The luxury suites feature web cams so dog owners can monitor their canines 24/7. They also include larger cots and televisions that play Roku’s DOG TV or other videos or live programs upon request.
Each full-service Ruff Housing facility has a “spa” that features grooming and bathing.
An expansion underway at the original Whitt Street facility will enable the company to add cat boarding and play next year.
It all reflects a love of animals Vaughn’s had since childhood.
“I had dogs and cats and always had animals in the house. It’s just kind of part of the family, of course.”
And what a growing family it still is!
For more information on Ruff Housing including prices, services, hours and policies check out its website.