Influential Couple: Jason & Scarlett Dalton are the 2023 Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs
Names: Jason and Scarlett Dalton
Company: Camp Bow Wow
Age: Jason 48, Scarlett 53
Family: Boy and girl twins, 28, and son, 25
Years in franchising: 15
Years in current position: 15
Jason and Scarlett Dalton are the 2023 Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs (Most Valuable Performers), awarded for demonstrating excellence in franchising as husband and wife. For this profile, we spoke with Jason.
Finding a market for Scarlett Dalton’s mobile dog grooming business was never difficult, says her husband and business partner Jason Dalton. Driving a converted old postal truck with the brand’s logo on its side, Scarlett was so in demand that people were approaching her at stop signs.
“She got so busy in just the first few months that we decided to take the Camp Bow Wow logo off the truck,” he recalls. A couple of years later, business was good enough for him to quit his engineering job and support Scarlett. She took on marketing and operations. He focused on the financials and long-term planning.
With their quick success and a market demand that continues to grow, the Daltons work hard at managing the business and maintaining a good marriage. “It can take a lot of talking through,” he says. “It can be a compromise, but we are always together, and we know how to keep things from going to another level” when issues do arise.
Their practical experience in working together is as needed now as it was in the beginning. Although he remains somewhat surprised at how big Camp Bow Wow has become, “We’ll keep growing as long as we keep finding good people.”
Why do you think you were recognized with this award? We are a husband-and-wife team who are around each other 100% of the time, and our strengths are much different. That’s a huge advantage when running a business. Scarlett has always been an open book with fellow franchisees and has provided tremendous guidance to those just entering the business. She’s well respected in this brand.
How have you raised the bar in your own company? Attention to detail and focus on the customer and employees.
What innovations have you created and used to build your company? I’ve developed custom software to assist in the daily operations of the business, tracking every aspect of our furry customers’ time at camp and assisting employees with optimizing their operations.
What core values do you think helped you win this award? We are strong brand ambassadors who are always willing to help and listen and always looking to invest in our businesses to make them the best we can.
How important is community involvement to you and your company? Extremely important. We give back to local charities and shelters through dog-related events and donations.
What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? Having a strong vision, setting expectations, empowering employees and giving them career paths to grow, holding ourselves as owners accountable as well as our employees to the same vision, and never asking an employee to do something we won’t do. Most important is integrity in the relationships we’ve built over the decades.
Formative influences/events: The opening of our first Camp Bow Wow in 2009 and subsequently expanding it to the current size in 2014. This allowed us both to focus full-time on our business and leave the 9-to-5 workforce.
Key accomplishments: I graduated with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee. Scarlett earned a marketing degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, established the first mobile grooming business in southeast Louisiana in 2004, and grew the business to where it is today with 8 open camps across 5 states.
Next big goal: Continue to grow the business through new opportunities from the ground up and/or the purchase of existing camps.
Hardest lesson learned: It’s okay to not have all the answers, and there are no such things as non-work hours when you own your own business.
Best advice you ever got: Don’t be afraid to gamble on yourself, and never stop looking after your own best interest.
Favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
What’s your passion in business? Building a legacy, using technology to make a difference in the day-to-day business operations, and providing career paths for employees who wish to stay with our brand.
Business philosophy: Treat everyone as I wish to be treated, and be quick to learn and move on from mistakes.
Management method or style: Empower employees to be their best, and hold them accountable to the company goals.
Greatest challenge: Finding good employees.
How close are you to operations? Every day, we try to streamline and optimize operations to better the business, help other franchisees, and build the brand.
How do you hire and fire, train and retain? We are always hiring and working to upgrade our staff. We are quick to move on from an employee who doesn’t show up for a shift or who calls out frequently. We spend the first two weeks training employees through our online onboarding software, and if we find a good, reliable employee, we are quick to promote and get them interacting with our customers as soon as they’re ready.
What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? We had to close our business for several months, and the business was slow to come back post-Covid.
Annual revenue: More than $8 million.
2023 goals: To break the $10 million revenue benchmark.
Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Year-over-year sales and daily dog counts.
Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? Still doing what we love but branching out into other industries, such as real estate, food service, etc.
What are you doing to take care of your employees? We pay for them to go to corporate reunions. We bring our out-of-town managers to Mardi Gras all expenses paid. We send our district manager to several vacations a year, with some out of the country. We do the usual Christmas parties and multiple dinner engagements throughout the year.What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? In about 20 years, our plan is to leave what we’ve built to our employees and children.
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