Spin Cycle

Chuck Wagon

Customers give this service two thumbs up.

By Natasha Emmons

When The Pet Pantry delivery van rumbles down the street, it draws neighborhood dogs who recognize the little white van that brings food and treats. Pet owners looking for convenience are creating a demand for the service--and those who can handle the adoration and like working from home are answering the call in droves.

Pet Pantry franchisees deliver fresh bins of vitamin-fortified pet food to their customers' doors, then retrieve the bin when they make their next delivery. "It's kind of like the old milkman," says Kenneth Wright, The Pet Pantry International Inc.'s chairman and CEO.

This Minden, Nevada-based company has expanded rapidly since it formed in 1995. There are about 50 U.S. franchises, and Wright hopes to have 110 U.S. franchises and two outside the United States--in Canada and South Africa--up and running by the end of the year.

Protected territories are offered by ZIP code, and initial start-up costs run about $40,000 (not including the cost of a delivery van). Franchisees handle administration at home, but warehouse space of about 700 square feet is needed for food storage.

If you're an old dog and think you can't learn new tricks, The Pet Pantry gives new franchisees six weeks of advice over the phone; a five-day training program at its Nevada headquarters; and ongoing support, including a minimum of two visits per year from a management consultant.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Spin Cycle.

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