‘In a good spot and growing’: South Salt Lake kennel rebounds after nearly closing during pandemic

SOUTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 News) – As more Utahns get vaccinated against Covid-19, the health of the state’s economy continues to improve as well. 

According to Zions Bank, 45 percent of all small businesses in the state have returned to pre-pandemic levels and another 26 percent expect to be back to normal within six months, including a South Salt Lake “mom and pup” business.

It’s always raining cats and dogs at Central Park Pet Retreat, a New York-themed kennel offering boarding and daycare that Jackie Hansen has owned for the last eight years.

“I love it. I love the animals,” Hansen told ABC4 News Monday. “I love the cats. Love the dogs.”

But last March, business suddenly dried up when Covid-19 changed everything.

“No one was travelling. No one was leaving their homes. No one was working,” Hansen said. “It was troubling. It was frightening to see everything change within a couple of weeks and then get worse and worse and worse. It was scary.”

As dogs stopped coming to her business, her business went to the dogs. Jackie and her husband furloughed most of the staff and thought about closing.

“We were down to two cats and two employees. Just hanging on,” she said. “I knew if we closed, it would be a death knell because it’s hard to pick back up.”

But money from the Paycheck Protection Program allowed Jackie to hire her employees back. Now, revenues and rising and she’s expanding to include dog training services, telling ABC4 the outlook is “paw-sitive”.

“We slowly recovered from the pandemic. We’re not where we were but we’re in a good spot and growing,” Hansen said. “Everybody bought a puppy during COVID so they need to be trained.”

According to a Census Bureau survey, 7 in 10 Utah small businesses expect to be fully recovered by September.

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