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Hidden Gems: Meet Mark McLean

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark McLean.  

Mark, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Married in 2009 in West Virginia, we spent the next decade in comfortable careers (Mark as VP of a construction firm, Melody most recently working on the investment side of BB&T) while volunteering with our local animal shelters in our free time. In 2019, we decided to take a leap of faith and try to make a living of our passion of working with animals. We had already fallen in love with this area, having visited here multiple times on vacation. So, we quit our jobs, moved to Charleston, and spent the next seven months preparing through training programs, mentoring, and shadowing while designing a facility with the perfect balance of luxury and fun. On March 17, 2020, we opened our doors; the following week, the city announced a two-week shutdown for the pandemic. It was a rough first year – not only being a new business but being one that relied heavily on people going to work and traveling. The need for daycare and boarding was minimal, as most people were working from home. But we weathered the storm, and we are now enjoying meeting new amazing clients every day! 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Obviously, COVID was the biggest hurdle we had to overcome these first two years. Any new business anticipates a slow start, and especially a business that involves taking care of people’s loved ones. People put their trust in you to take care of their pets, and you have to deliver 100% of the time. Additionally, though, many of the dogs that came to us as the pandemic wound down had not been well-socialized. People weren’t taking their dogs out as much – to the beach, to dog parks, even to their neighbors or family members. There have been studies regarding the social impact of isolation on children, and I would bet if they looked into new pets, they would see similar trends. We’ve really learned a lot about how to integrate and socialize pets that have gotten a late start in the process, and it’s presented some additional challenges for us and all dog daycares. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a full-service pet care facility, offering grooming, boarding, daycare, day training, and enrichment. We have two indoor and three outdoor play spaces, including a large main indoor-outdoor space where the dogs spend a lot of their day. Every dog that comes to play has to pass what we call a temperament test, where we make sure they are comfortable in a group-play atmosphere. This ensures that we don’t encounter the unknowns an owner might find at their local dog park (I’m sure we’ve all dealt with the “my dog is friendly” person who stands by and watches as their dog all but mauls the others in the park). In addition to spacious play areas and luxury boarding suites, we take incredible pride in our cleanliness and sanitation. The facility is deep cleaned every single night, and we are always being complimented on the fact that it “doesn’t smell like a dog daycare.” 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
We absolutely LOVE the fact that there are so many options for things to do – from downtown to the beaches, to Pitt Street, to the various waterfront parks – and they are almost all pet-friendly. Even Charleston’s elite restaurant scene is heavily pet-inclusive. Charleston has become an amazing home for us, and we really don’t have anything negative we’ve found! 

Pricing:

  • Daycare – $29 (full day)
  • Boarding – $45/night
  • Day Training – $20-$35/session
  • Enrichment – $15-$25/session
  • Bath/Blow Dry – $20-$50

Contact Info:

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