There’s a ton of excitement beyond our ho-hum tail wagging we do every day at The Watering Bowl. New location, new home for Butt Sniffers Academy, new employees coming on board. It’s all positive, and we are enjoying every minute of it.
And one of the biggest pieces of news is that we are adding a partner to go along with our third location (ahem, at 5215 Manchester Ave). Jim Conger, our new Alpha Dog, has been getting his hands dirty at all three of our doggy daycare facilities, and he took a short break to tell us a little more about who he is, what he’s been doing and what he’s looking forward to.
Take a read.
Jim, you already have the job, so we’ll try not to make this interview too strenuous.
We just want to tell the customers of TWB what you’re all about and why you’re excited to jump in and lead the pack.
So, let’s get started.
How’d you hear about The Watering Bowl in the first place?
Jeremy and I have been friends since college. I was excited when he told me in 2010 he was opening a doggy daycare. At that time I lived in Kansas City and used “Cage Free” facilities for boarding and loved them.
What made you want to become a part of it?
I have always had a passion for dogs and have always wanted to be a business owner. I’ve spent many hours training bird dogs over the years and have always wanted to work with animals on a regular basis in some fashion. Jeremy and I were catching up over lunch last year, and the conversation quickly turned into us working together as business partners. It quickly escalated from there.
What do you think about the new location?
It’s really hard to put into words. You can’t appreciate it until you see it. We transformed an 80 year old vacant factory in the heart of St. Louis into a world-class doggy daycare, boarding, and training facility. We’re located near the Central West End, The Hill, The Grove, BJC, Dogtown, and Tower Grove. We couldn’t ask for a better spot.
What are you most excited about what you see with The Watering Bowl and what kinds of exciting things do you see on the horizon for the Cage-Free Canine Community?
I am most excited to go to work every day and spend time with our canine friends and help lead a top-notch team. The folks in the back of the house along with those in the front of the house are where everything starts. Jeremy has done a great job putting the pieces together and transforming the business over the years. Without his vision and leadership, The Watering Bowl would not be where it is today.
I am also excited about taking the business to other areas in the Metro and beyond. With people’s lives only getting busier and more and more families getting dogs, there’s an absolute need for what we offer.
Do you like dogs? Just kidding. Of course you do. Tell us about your dogs and what they mean to you.
I’ve always been kind of a cat sort of guy…Ha, Kidding. I did have a couple cats growing up, but I’ve always been a dog guy. My first dog was Rose. My parents got her when I was 5. She was a beautiful Black Lab who loved attention. She was also a great waterfowl dog. I now have a Brittany Spaniel. Maggie will be 9 in November and is sweet as can be. She is great with my son James, 7, and my daughter, Madelyn, 5. She is also a pointer who, aside from her primary role as a pet, is dynamite at upland game hunting.
What were you doing before you decided to join the pack?
I was in the insurance and financial services industry for the last 12 years with a primary focus on employee benefits. I worked with small employers up to Fortune 500 companies to design benefit programs and help control risk. I met lots of really smart people over the years who are now friends today.
Is your family excited about this new venture?
Oh, yeah. Madelyn and James build doggy daycares in our living room using their stuffed animals. Each one gets a little more complex too. I think the last one had an on-site vet. We’re not there yet with our core business! This is pretty much a weekly occurrence. The whole family also gets a kick out of looking at our daily videos and pictures on Facebook.
Was there an initiation period when you joined The Watering Bowl? Did it involve a pooper scooper?
There was and it is ongoing. I started on the floor with the dogs just like every other employee and still fill in as needed. The scooper is in one hand and the mop is in the other at times! Can’t let the small messes turn into large ones! Our managers along with Jeremy and I make it a point to spend time in the back of the house where the core business takes place. We’re a flat organization and like to be involved at the ground level!
What is your official title and what all will it entail?
Since “Top Dog” was already taken, I was given the title “Alpha Dog”. We like to have fun around here! I am involved in all aspects of the business including day-to-day operations, growth strategy, program development, employee development, marketing strategy, financials, and the list goes on.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
A couple things come to mind. First and foremost acting as a coach and mentor to our team. We have an open door policy and love it when a teammate brings us a unique idea, current issue, or a problem they are facing. I really enjoy the brainstorming sessions!
Second is growing the company in the Metro area and beyond. There’s a lot of need for what we do and we want to serve the communities around us.
Tell us anything else you’d like to share about your experience, goals and growing t-shirt collection.
The t-shirt collection has definitely grown. My wife, Billie, recently started selling a few things on Craig’s list and Ebay. I need to turn her loose on my suit and tie collection since it’s all t-shirts for me now!!
Seriously though, I look forward to getting to know more of our existing clients and growing my relationship with our team. We owe a lot to them and I want them to know that.
Great to hear from you, Jim. And thanks for helping to build our cage-free canine community.