Company: Camp Bow Wow
Company Description: Camp Bow Wow is the first and largest franchisor of dog care facilities in North America! With over 200 Dog Day and Overnight Camps nationwide, we've made it dog gone easy for you to leave your pup while your on vacation or working long hours.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur – Service Businesses - Up to 100 Employees
Nomination Title: Heidi Flammang, Top Dog aka CEO/Founder, Camp Bow Wow
1. Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):
Founded in 2000, the Colorado-based company Camp Bow Wow was created by
Flammang’s vision to one day save the world, one dog at a time. Flammang is
responsible for all operations of the company and is the leader of the pack for
all franchisees. Camp Bow Wow has grown to be the one of the largest women owned
franchise and pet industry businesses, the largest doggy day care company in the
world and a $30 Million leader in the $47 Billion United States pet sector.
Before founding Camp Bow Wow, Flammang had a career in pharmaceutical sales, but
always dreamt, along with her late husband, to one day open a doggy day care.
Now with over 200 franchises sold in 38 states and Canada, Flammang is
recognized as a leader in her industry and an extreme lover of all dogs.
Bion and Heidi were inspired to create Camp Bow Wow in 1993 when they needed a
good boarding facility during a vacation for their two adopted dogs, Mick and
Winnie. At the time, they didn’t have any children and considered their dogs to
be their ‘furry kids.’ As with any parent, their first instinct was to leave
them with family or friends who were not always available. Next, they looked
into some local kenneling facilities, but discovered they typically placed dogs
in cages all day and night, with a short walk once or twice a day. They simply
could not leave their “kids” under these conditions. Furthermore, Mick suffered
from severe separation anxiety and when left in a cage he would rub his nose and
muzzle raw. They knew there had to be a better way to keep their pets safe and
happy when they were apart, and where they could have peace of mind knowing they
were in good hands. This is when the concept of an all day play environment and
Camp Bow Wow was born.
Flammang has a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University
of Denver and a Business Marketing Degree from the University of
Colorado-Boulder. She was born in Southern California and raised in Monument,
CO. Flammang resides in Boulder, CO with her significant other Jason, her
daughter Tori, their black Labrador Raider and Toy Maltese Scout.
2. List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your nomination. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
3. Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):
Through personal and professional tragedies, beginning with the loss of her
young husband to losing a million dollar insurance settlement, Heidi has faced
extraordinary adversity. By turning her life-long passion for dogs into the
nation’s largest doggy day and overnight care franchise company, creating a
related charitable foundation and raising a wonderful 12-year-old daughter as a
single mom, she has accomplished great success so far.
Her first husband Bion and she began building a life together full of happiness
with a limitless sense of hope for the future. They were two highly motivated,
energetic twenty some-things with entrepreneurial spirits and an abundant supply
of energy. Together they conceived the idea of starting a doggy day and
overnight care business born out of their love for dogs and the need for a
market alternative to the bleak conditions of the traditional kennel
environment. With this motive, Camp Bow Wow was born. The concept was totally
novel and in many areas of the country remains so to this day - the philosophy
is simple, Camp Bow Wow is a place where a dog can be a dog.
As a young couple from middle class families, Bion and Heidi lacked the
resources to start the business, so the plan was shelved until the “future”. The
future for them would never come. Shortly after they finished developing the
Camp Bow Wow business plan, her family treated Bion to a surprise private flight
in an open cockpit stunt plane for his 25th birthday. Bion loved adventure and
was thrilled with the gift of this special ride. Her parents accompanied Bion
to the airstrip that tragic day that he died and bore witness to the crash that
killed her best friend - her husband.
Bion’s untimely death had a paralyzing effect on her. For years afterwards, she
lost sight of all the hope that gave her the drive to make something of her
life. All the energy and spirit she once had was channeled into all the wrong
directions. In an effort to cope, regain direction and jump-start her life, she
hastily got remarried to a man she was close friends with in grade school.
Unbeknownst to her, he had severe addiction problems which quickly contributed
to the failure of the marriage and the seven year custody battle with his mother
in which I become embroiled. Added to the shortfalls in her personal life were
the loss of almost the entire $1 Million settlement from Bion’s crash in court
costs for the custody battle, unreturned loans to friends and family, a series
of bad investments and the failure of two start-up businesses which she founded.
Nothing seemed to be going right.
Finally, in 2000, as a somewhat lost, single mom with only $83,000 of the
dwindling settlement left, she was encouraged by her brother to finally start
Camp Bow Wow. She pulled the dusty business plan off the shelf, rolled up her
sleeves and jumped head-first into the most challenging undertaking of her life
which has grown to be the one of the largest women owned franchise and pet
industry businesses, the largest doggy day care company in the world and a $30
Million leader in the $47 Billion United States pet sector. This bumpy road has
presented her with all sorts of tests and tribulations, but the rewards, mostly
non-financial, have been unparalleled.
The timing to start Camp Bow Wow was perfect. She was ready to devote herself to
a business she loved and felt she had no choice but to succeed…failure was not
an option! After investing the last of her savings ($83,000 to be exact!) and a
lot of sweat equity, she opened her first camp in December of 2000 near downtown
Denver. In 2003 she started franchising the concept and by 2008 sold over 200
franchise businesses. Camp Bow Wow came to fruition because she believed in
herself and overcame fears and shunned naysayers. Her story offers encouragement
and incentive as well as advice on overcoming extraordinary personal suffering
to an audience who may be fearful of taking chances, growing or leading a
business, or ultimately of achieving their dream.