SUCCESS STORY

Nathan Thompson

10,000 Wags

Nathan Thompson

Great timing and a great team helped dog-loving data analyst Nathan Thompson achieve a great outcome in pet resort ownership.

Nathan and his wife Lauren became owners of their first pet resort in New Mexico in early 2022.

“During Covid, I had noticed a lot of people getting dogs who hadn't really thought about getting a dog previously,” Nathan recalls.  “So, when I thought about businesses that might be prime for a turnaround, pet resorts grabbed my attention.

“It helped that I love dogs! So, I did some research on the pet care industry and started searching for pet resorts for sale.”

This was the post-Covid period when pet resorts were getting busy again and there were not many for sale. But he came across 10,000 Wags in New Mexico, which was listed for sale by Teija Heikkila of PET VET, M&A, Sales & Advisory (at that time called National Kennel Sales).

“There were two for sale in New Mexico,” Nathan says. “My wife and I had a lot of friends there and we knew and loved the locations. I went upstairs to my wife and asked: “Hey, what do you think about buying a pet resort,” expecting to have to pitch her on it and convince her why it was a good idea. But she quickly responded, “Yeah, let's do it.”

Shortly after visiting the facility, Nathan and Lauren found out they were expecting their first child. “We hesitated for a moment, but then decided to go for it.”

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Although it was a relatively quick decision, Nathan was not going into the purchase blind.  He had researched the industry and the market and developed a 5-year business plan, with the intention of eventually moving back to Colorado. The business grew much faster than expected. Tourism was roaring back to life and there was not a lot of pet boarding competition close by.  In just a year and a half, they hit the five-year revenue number.

“Operating 10,000 Wags was an incredible, once in a lifetime, experience. I can’t think of a better way to integrate into a community than to care for its beloved pets.  We felt instantly welcomed into Taos by the clients, staff, and most importantly, their pets. Taos will always hold a special place in our hearts.

ABOUT THE BUSINESS

  • Location: Taos, NM
  • Purchased in 2022
  • Owned for 1 year
  • Services provided: Boarding, Daycare, Bathing
  • 1 building, 4,000+ on 1.5acres
  • 57 enclosures with 80+ dog capacity
  • 13 full and part-time staff

Our son, Monte, was born there and we are forever grateful for the time we spent there during his first year. But having a baby changes your perspective and we decided we wanted to be back home, near family.”

“I called Teija and I told her that I was considering selling the business a little bit earlier than we thought.  I wanted to see what her thoughts were since she knows this space so well.  I threw out a number that we would be happy getting from a potential buyer and wanted to know if she thought it was reasonable.  I was fully expecting it to be sometime in the next two years.”

“Teija helped us develop a plan for getting it listed and I was shocked when she called me back just a few weeks later with a potential buyer.  The depth of her network is unmatched in the industry.

“So, then we decided to go ahead with selling, and move back closer to our family in Colorado while our son was so young.”

The sale went through in October 2023 and was a great success for the Thompsons.  Nathan is quick to acknowledge some luck in the timing of both the purchase and the sale, as well as the knowledgeable help from Teija’s team.

“Getting it under contract right as people started travelling more and then moving into the area was very lucky and I can’t take any credit for that. Teija’s team gets credit for the success of the transactions. Teija just knows every component of a transaction. When we bought it, she told me every step - like where there might be hiccups, and where there might be delays.  When selling, she told us when we could expect to close, what was realistic or not, and whether I should expect a buffer. Anytime I had a question, her team had the answer.  We sold to a private equity firm, and I don't think they would even have found us if I tried to sell it any other way and hadn’t had Teija as our broker.”

The new buyer offered 401K, health care and even equity ownership to members of the existing staff team, something that Nathan had not been able to offer, so he is happy they are in good hands.  Since selling, Nathan and his family have taken a tropical vacation, and Nathan has started a new job back in data analytics but is keeping an eye out for his next opportunity.