Puppy and kitten boom may turn a business bust into a bonanza

Posted at 10:19 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 00:19:09-04

The pet daycare business is in a business bizarro world of COVID-caused whiplash.

Think about it.

People are staying home from work and not traveling.

They don't need daycare and boarding.


Now think about the world for pet boarders and day-carers that made it through.

How many people adopted or purchased new pets last year?

No exact number, but it's A LOT. People who were:

  • Lonely at home.
  • Starving for contact in socially distanced times.
  • Starting outdoor hobbies.

Many of them are now people going to work and going on trips again.


As Jackie Hansen, owner of Central Park Pet Retreat in South Salt Lake, put it, "Everybody bought a puppy during COVID."

Hansen made it through and kept her employees with the help of the Paycheck Protection Program, and today she hosted the bigwigs from Zions Bank to tout Utah's resilient small businesses.

Robert Spendlove with Zions Bank used numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau's Pulse Survey of Small Businesses.

"Seven in 10 small businesses have either fully recovered or have expected to recover in the next few months," Spendlove said, adding, "Forty-five percent of these small businesses are operating at pre-pandemic levels today and another 26 percent expect to return to normal in six months."

Count Jackie Hansen among that 26 percent.

"We've slowly recovered, but we're not where we were," she said.

But after a year of what she alternately described as agonizing and frightening, Hansen has lots of dogs cavorting with her staff, and lots of hope that more are on their way.

"We're in a good spot and growing."