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Camp Bow Wow expands Springfield operations

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Camp Bow Wow is expanding in Springfield with this week’s opening of a new operation for the dog day care and boarding business.

Franchisees Tony and Jamie Caruso on Thursday plan to open their second Camp Bow Wow in the Queen City, at 2814 S. Fremont Ave., Ste. 104. The day care marks the couple’s fourth franchise location. In March 2015, they acquired the 1900 W. Sunset St. facility for undisclosed terms from the Colorado-based Camp Bow Wow corporation.

“It’s a very friendly town and we thought we could bring something to the table. It’s worked out,” Tony Caruso said.

The Carusos, who reside in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, also operate two franchise locations in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

Tony Caruso said the Sunset Street operation has grown to 25 employees from eight in 2015, and the new 4,500-square-foot location will begin with a staff of 15 people.

Both local camps offer private, climate-controlled “cabins” for dogs, while the new spot includes three indoor play areas with grassy turf. Caruso said the new facility also includes grooming services that will be available for dogs that aren’t utilizing day care or boarding options.

The Carusos signed a five-year lease with a five-year renewal option for an undisclosed rate with FM Stores LLC, which owns the center. Jamie Caruso said FM Stores, which is located next door to the new Camp Bow Wow, was previously using a portion of the building for a furniture staging area.

Some of the infill work involved soundproofing the walls and adding flooring from PermaTek Coatings. According to a city building permit, the project was estimated at $180,000. Tony Caruso said the total project cost exceeded that amount, but declined to disclose the total.

He said the new camp is targeting smaller breeds and low energy dogs.

“I think it probably speaks to a different set of dogs,” he said, adding both Springfield camps will now offer shuttle service for pick-up and drop-off options.

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