Carrie Turpin has always been a dog lover.
She just never envisioned loving up to 150 furry friends on any given day.
That’s her role when her business, The Pet Ranch, is at capacity.
Turpin and her husband, Josh, along with friends Travis Bauer and Tara Hendricks are owners and operators of The Pet Ranch, a dog and cat boarding facility in Olathe.
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Q: What does Pet Ranch offer?
“We do a lot of things,” Carrie Turpin said. “It is a boarding facility and doggie day care. We have two full-time groomers, a private dog park on 14 acres and a retail shop with pet supplies. That’s us in a nutshell.”
The Pet Ranch is located in a former horse stable. It is has more than 26,000 square feet of space with 8,000 square feet of it devoted to an indoor turf play yard. The business also features a 15-acre outdoor dog park with a swimming pond.
“When we got it, it was a disaster,” said Turpin the property. “We envisioned this transition and it worked out really well. It was a perfect fit from horses to dogs.”
Q: How did you put the business together?
The Pet Ranch opened in 2008 after several years of planning. Carrie Turpin moved to the Kansas City area to join her husband who was in the mortgage and finance business.
“This was something we talked about for a long time,” she said. “We had a beagle named Ernie, the love of my life. And every time we went on vacation, I would bawl my eyes out worrying about my dog. And I thought I would do this so people wouldn’t stress about leaving their dog.”
The Turpins created a business plan: Josh focused on the financing aspects while Carrie concentrated on day-to-day operations.
The couple also tapped a network of family and friends to help finance the venture.
The next step was finding the right location.
Josh Turpin found the abandoned horse stable near the Johnson County Executive Airport.
“It seemed a little big at first but with a vision, we created this concept,” Turpin said. “We got a good deal on the property. Josh did all the negotiating.”
The Turpins and their partners did much of the renovation work themselves. One partner is a contractor who oversaw the project.
“We did have to make a lot of changes building walls for the dog lodges and making a grooming room out of a one-bedroom apartment,” Turpin said.
Some of the work wasn’t fun.
“We were cleaning up the muck in the stalls,” she said, “grooming the dog park, cleaning up the pasture. It was definitely a labor of love. It was a scary leap to go into something you have dreamed about.”
Q: What’s your prior business experience?
Neither Turpin nor her husband had worked in the animal industry before The Pet Ranch. While Josh Turpin’s background was in the finance and mortgage business, Carrie Turpin’s background was in the film and entertainment industries as well as the personal services arena.
“I worked for Jim Henson Studios as Lisa Henson’s personal assistant,” Turpin said. “I did walk her dogs, so there was some experience there,” she with a laugh.
However, she said, animals have played an important role in her life. Family vacations often centered around activities with animals, including swimming with manatees in Florida or whale watching. She also is a dog owner. Turpin said combining her past experiences with her current work at The Pet Ranch has been eye opening.
“Starting the Pet Ranch and doing this business...I have become such a different person. It has transformed me,” Turpin said. “ The on-the-job training has been immense. Sometimes I had to suck my lemons and I learned from it (but) it has given me so much confidence.”
Q: Who plays what roles in the business?
As general manager, Carrie Turpin is responsible for The Pet Ranch’s day-to-day operations. She has four managers that assist her in running the place in addition to a cadre of 45 to 55 part-time employees who keep things moving.
“I am there to almost midnight every night,” Turpin said. “I try to set an example and be the hardest-working employee...and they follow in my footsteps. The reason we are successful is our amazing staff.”
Josh Turpin works behind the scenes handling some of the financial responsibilities. Bauer assists with operations and Hendricks runs the grooming operations.
One “perk” Turpin loves is being able to bring the couple’s four canine kids — Ernie, Duke, Bonesy and Tucker— to the “office”.
Q: There are numerous dog boarding/day care facilities in the Johnson County area. What makes The Pet Ranch stand out?
“I think the dog park is a unique aspect,” Turpin said. “It has a pond, it’s fenced and it as an agility course and wooded trails...You have to be a member to use the space, your dog has to be vaccinated and be friendly to use it...but members get discounts on all of our services except grooming.”
The Pet Ranch also has a staff veterinarian, Matt Mayerske.
“He is a mobile vet and his business is called Elite Animal Care,” Turpin said. “He offices out of our business... and he’s on call for any issues that we need him for.”
Turpin said in the seven years since The Pet Ranch opened, business has increased annually. Her greatest frustration is turning away customers because the facility is full.
“There is no way to expand this building so our only option is to do a second facility,” Turpin said. “But I don’t know if I am ready for that or if I could do that.”
Rather than physically expand, the business owners have moved in another direction.
“We have started on online pet supply service called High Plains Pet Supply that includes toys, treats, training products and line of dog treats called Emunity (emu meat) all under Pet Ranch,” she said. “Online sales have been growing rapidly. We get orders from all over the place.”
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: The Pet Ranch
ADDRESS: 12700 W. 151st St, Olathe 66062
TELEPHONE: 913 814-7387