Worksop woman set to transform vacant town centre building into dog day care and training facility
A Worksop dog trainer is set to expand her business and build a canine empire giving dog owners a one stop shop for all their needs.
Sarah Knowles has her sights set on transforming a building in Victoria Square into The Woof Hub Ltd – featuring a dog training facility, luxury doggy day care, retail and dog grooming facility.
The mother-of-two, who has more than ten years experience working with animals, decided to embark on her new business venture after being furloughed from her job as a retail manager at the Maltby RSPCA shop.
Sarah is already providing dog training for 65 clients and is in talks to take on the new property and obtain planning permission to transform the space.
Sarah decided to take the plunge after learning 3.2 million people had bought pets in lockdown and realising a gap in the market for dog training and day care facilities as people began to return back to the office.
Sarah, aged 34 of Gateford said: “I had been furloughed for around a year and I had noticed on social media the increase in people buying dogs during lockdown and seeing people struggling with socialising their dogs in lockdown and dealing with separation anxiety as they returned to work.
"I had been a kennel manager at Thornberry Animal Sanctuary and a senior welfare assistant at Rain Rescue in Rotherham so I felt it was the right time to get back to my roots as I felt that I could see us facing a crisis point when it came to dog owners returning to work and the potential increase in dogs going back into rescue centres.
"I just put up a message on Facebook to see if there would be a demand in the area and I had 108 messages in two days and already have 65 clients that I’m working with on dog training and now I’m focusing on the new business plan and expanding.”
As part of the new expansion Sarah plans to create a luxury doggy daycare facility with a living room setting and an enrichment room filled with toys and games.
Puppy parents will also be able to keep tabs on their pooch thanks to CCTV cameras allowing owners to log in at any time of the day.
Sarah’s new facility will also boast an indoor training centre and retail space to allow owners to purchase leads and harnesses and accessories directly and in future Sarah hopes to provide a grooming service too.
Sarah will be taking on two full-time members of staff and six part-time members as well as providing apprenticeships schemes and a volunteer programme.
Sarah is hopeful that the new facility could be up and running by September.
"It was very daunting handing my notice in but amazing as I’ve talked about wanting to create a business like this since 2016 and I’m extremely passionate about it,” she said.
Sarah, who is mum to Izobel 11 and 13-year-old Farley, as well as four dogs, three cats and two horses, is hoping her children may follow in her footsteps.
She added: "One of the main reasons I wanted to set the business up and get things up and running is because the children are showing an interest in dog training so I thought this was a great way to pass something onto them.”
To find out more search The Woof Hub Ltd or www.sarahknowlesanimalcare.co.uk