We had the good fortune of connecting with Kat Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kat, how do you think about risk?
Being an entrepreneur is risky in and of itself. The Pampered Pet Resorts that Houstonians know and love today was built on the risks of one woman: Ellen O’Connor. When Ellen acquired Pampered Pet Inn, she had no experience running a business of her own, but she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and went on to operate Pampered Pet Inn while raising her two children.
After 40 years in business and sixteen years under Ellen’s proprietorship, Erin and Mary Kate, her daughters, took a similar risk: opening a second Pampered Pet facility. In September 2021, Pampered Pet Recreation Center opened its doors on O’Meara Drive and added to the Pampered Pet Resorts family.
Being a small business owner isn’t easy, but all three women took a risk so that they may get the privilege of pampering Houston’s pets for generations to come. Without risk, there is no reward, and serving Houston’s pampered pets for 40 years is the greatest reward of all for Ellen and her family.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Pampered Pet Inn began in 1982 as a modest dog grooming and lodging facility. Ellen, our owner, worked as a groomer for The Inn for nearly 16 years before a six-month battle with cancer. The experience gave her a new lease on life, and she decided to leave the business to start her own grooming salon. When she went to resign, the original owners made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: acquiring Pampered Pet Inn.
Ellen went on to purchase The Inn and raise her two daughters as active participants in the evolution of the business. Over time, The Inn expanded to offer our enrichment-based doggie day camp. The girls grew up and went from helping around the shop to becoming acting CEO of Pampered Pet Resorts and the Pampered Pet Doggie Day Camp Director, raising their own children in the Pampered Pet family and continuing the tradition of serving Houston’s pampered pets. Ellen, of course, remains in the shop as a dedicated groomer, and plans to continue grooming until she is no longer physically able.
Our newest facility, Pampered Pet Recreation Center, officially opened its doors in September 2021, specializing in our enrichment-based daycare. We’re proud to be one of only a handful of companies to offer enrichment-based doggie daycare in the Houston area, and this new facility offers amazing features like a doggie waterpark, sensory garden, and 16,000 sq. ft. of play space! PPRC is a dream come true for Erin and Mary Kate and years in the making. In honor of this, Pampered Pet Resorts was created as the parent company to the two facilities.
Everyone in the Pampered Pet family is hopeful for the future of Pampered Pet Resorts, and we can’t wait to continue serving generations of pets in the greater Houston area for years to come. We seek to continue providing outstanding grooming, boarding, and doggie day camp services for the community that has lifted us up since the very beginning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We love pet-friendly spots like Levy Park, Barkley’s Midtown, Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, and the Discovery Green Dog Run!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Through ups and downs, Pampered Pet Resorts has always been able to count on the overwhelming support from the Houston community that has helped us continue to grow for 40 years. We’ve learned that nothing can compare to the relationships we’ve built with our clients and guests.