Countryside Agility

    • countryside agility

Countryside Agility was started in 2002 in Edinboro by Denise Thomas. Denise had trained and shown in dog sports since she was nine years old.  She had started a small grooming and boarding business to pay for college. For fifteen years, she operated Village Groomer and Kennels in Girard. The grooming grew from a few dogs a week to twenty dogs a day, with the salon hiring with three employees along the way. But agility was her passion, and in 2002, she opened Countryside Agility.

In 2014, Denise realized that she had outgrown her current location. The only solution was to purchase a larger facility that would allow her to offer all the services she wanted. She chose a location in the city of Erie that more than doubled her space while her mortgage payment was not much higher than the rent she was paying. Also, being in the city would attract more business.

Denise needed to borrow money in order to purchase the building, and so she applied at the Erie Federal Credit Union where she was a member.

Denise was referred by the Credit Union to the Gannon University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to have financial projections and a business plan prepared.  She also needed to understand the financial aspects of the business and use the monthly projections as her budget for the upcoming year. This gave the SBDC an opportunity to compare actual results with forecasted ones and make quick decisions to correct deviations.  

The client’s loan of $675,000 was approved in fall of this year, and she expects to be in the new building by February of 2015 after all the renovations are completed. Because of the larger facility and expected growth in customers, Denise expects to add employees before the end of 2015.