By Susan Elise Campbell
There is a new 11,000-square-foot building going up behind Mahogany Ridge Dog Training and Daycare’s original leased location at 2983 Route 9 in Malta.
When the last details are finalized, the entire staff and their furry guests will move into a clean, modern space under the new banner, Charlie’s Stay & Play.
The project started to take shape three years ago when founder and former owner Jennifer Weis began talks with her friend and client Lisa Mitzen, a fellow animal lover who is known in the area for her business acumen and philanthropy.
“We have a farm with lots of animals,” said Mitzen. “Twelve years ago we got a yellow lab puppy named Charlie and brought him to Mahogany Ridge for daycare.”
Mitzen “fell in love with the place” and grew fonder of Weis as she trained her dog, she said. Later the Mitzens added another lab and a mixed breed to the family and again Weis helped train them.
In 2021, the Mitzens bought Mahogany Ridge for their personal portfolio and Weis agreed to stay on to manage day-to-day operations and training. The next step was to buy five acres of land from Stewarts Corp. behind the doggie daycare just south of Northway Exit 13.
Mitzen hopes to break ground on the new building very soon, keeping business going as usual from the existing space. She said eight to 10 months from now, when the new business is unveiled, it will carry the name of the pampered pooch who inspired Mitzen and Weis to work together.
Charlie’s Stay & Play has kept all its programming the same, including daycare, boarding, and training classes. Mitzen said dog owners must commit to one day a week to participate in day care and that overnight boarding is available only to those dogs.
“Each dog must be evaluated so that we create a safe environment for all,” said Mitzen.
Her goal is “to slowly grow the dogs and staff” and add more services, such as grooming, a cat sanctuary, and ultimately a small veterinary practice.
“If the supply chain and weather cooperate, we can move over in February or March,” she said.
Then she will be closer to her dream of owning a doggie daycare that “cares about the well-being, safety and happiness of the dogs,” she said. “We would like to help so many more animals. Not all dogs are so fortunate.”
The Mitzens donate all profits from Charlie’s Stay & Play to their Business for Good, a public foundation which will in turn direct funds to animal-related charities.
Mitzen and her husband Ed founded Business for Good in 2020. BFG has distributed $7 million to date, but it does much more. It invests in people and stronger communities by supporting entrepreneurship and small business as a partner. Profits are then returned to the community to improve food insecurity, housing instability, animals and other issues that many communities face.
Hattie’s Chicken and Bread Basket Bakery are also businesses that the Mitzens are operating for a profit and that, like Charlie’s, are BFG businesses. More enterprises are in the planning stages for the Capital District.
Mitzen said Balzer & Tuck of Saratoga is the project architect and The LA Group is helping navigate the Town of Malta regulations. She said she is in the process of considering different financing options.
Visit www.bfg.org to learn more about how Business for Good is helping business in the Saratoga area.