Kenya Newman opened funnybones, a Happy Place for Dogs on Nov. 22, 2004. Originally from California, Newman opened her business after meeting a woman who owned another doggy daycare. According to Newman she was the happiest person she had ever met. After leaving a sports marketing job, Newman decided to strike out on her own and with the help of her father, funnybones was born. I recently sat down with Kenya to talk about her business.
Patch: What is the best aspect of owning funnybones?
Kenya: There are so many. I guess the autonomy is the best part. If I have an idea I can make it happen. There's no one to check with to get permission. I definitely bounce ideas off of my employees and my dad but ultimately I can do what I want. If I have a crazy idea or if I want to be closed for a certain holiday or if I want to go on vacation there is some flexibility. Also just being accountable. I am the type of person who like to be accountable for good things and for bad things. Ultimately owning your own business you can take credit for the good things and then you can step up when things aren't going so great.
Patch: What is the most challenging aspect of owning your own business?
Kenya: There are several sleepless nights. When things aren't going so great you have to have a lot of tough conversations whether it's with customers or employees. I'm not really adept at hiring and firing because it's so personal for me because they're like family. Also being married to this place is tough. I routinely work on my day off and you can never really step away. If you work for someone else and go on vacation you're not thinking about work. It's not like that when you own your own business. I will say however that the pros out weigh the cons.
Patch: What makes your doggy daycare unique?
Kenya: A lot of things. For one we're small and we will stay that way. There's no second location and there's no franchise. My employees, my dad and myself know the names of all of our dogs and all sorts of facts about each one. Their likes, their dislikes, the dog's best friends, what they ate, if one isn't feeling well, they're all like our personal dogs. I really feel like we are a part of the community here because of the care we give these dogs is just bar none. We go out of our way to give a personal touch. We're always trying to make their experience super super great. A lot of the bigger doggy daycares will market to the owners but all of our events are for the dogs. They happen during the day while their owners are at work. For example, on the Fourth of July, we have an employee whos husband sets up a grill in the parking lot and grills dozens of hamburgers and hotdogs for the dogs. We try and have at least one event each month.
Patch: What makes the Lilburn community special?
Kenya: Lilburn is a small community. It's great. We try to get involved in local events and there's always something going on that we can participate in. Lilburn has been so awesome in embracing our small business and our dedication to the animals.
Located at 4 Killian Hill Rd., funnybones, a Happy Place for Dogs is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. until noon and then from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and on Sunday for drop offs and pick ups only from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Upcoming events include Valentines Day, Wet N Wild Spring Break, and St. Patrick's Day. For more information visit the funnybones website at http://www.funnybonesfordogs.com/