By Christine Graf
Pet Lodge owner Matt Sames is anticipating a May opening for his newest location at 3320 Route 9 in Saratoga.
The business will offer dog and cat boarding, doggie daycare, pet grooming and obedience training classes. The new 6,000-square-foot building was built on land Sames purchased more than three years ago.
Sames opened the first Pet Lodge 12 years ago in Clifton Park. His desire to start his own business developed while he was working as general sales manager at WRGB Channel 6. It was then that Plattsburgh veterinarian Dr. Tom Brown approached him about going into business together. The two men have been friends for over 40 years.
“We kicked around some ideas,” said Sames. “At the time, this was a business that wasn’t in the area. If they were around, they were very small. We saw an opportunity, so we mortgaged the house and emptied the savings and built a $1.6 million facility in Clifton Park.”
A 12,000-square-foot location opened in 2006, and a short time later the partners opened a second location in Williston, Vt. In 2007, they opened a location at the Albany Airport. The following year, a fourth location was opened in Glenville. The Williston location was closed last year but the rest are still in operation.
Pet Lodge’s rapid growth came to an abrupt halt in March 2008 after Sames’ youngest daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with giant axonal neuropathy at age four. GAN is a rare genetic disorder that affects both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
After she was diagnosed, Matt and Lori Sames established a nonprofit called Hannah’s Hope. Hannah is the youngest of the Sames’ three daughters.
“We went to work immediately and have raised about $10 million in 11 years because of the support of the community,” said Sames. “Half of what we raised was very grassroots, and the other half came in very big chunks.”
After Hannah’s health stabilized, Sames was able to spend more time working on his businesses. He also owns Sames Media Group, an advertising agency. His clients include Mohawk Honda and Bryant and Stratton College.
“After Hannah was diagnosed, the business kind of had to go into neutral. I could only do so much,” he said. “My focus was on fundraising and maintaining what we had. When Hannah got treated almost three years ago, that allowed me to start focusing on business again.”
It was around that time that he made the decision to move forward with opening a new Pet Lodge in Saratoga.
“We just think it’s a great community for the service we offer,” said Sames. “We’ve had quite a few requests over the years to open up here.”
He spends most of his time working at his media company and relies on his managers to run his Pet Lodge locations.
He has a total of 34 full and part-time employees, and the Saratoga location will have a staff of approximately 10. They have been hired and are training at the Clifton Park location.
For more information, visit www.petlodges.com
By Christine Graf