A Happy Dog's Tale
In 2015, Paul and Laura Abbott realized their dream of opening Life of Riley, a high-end doggie daycare and grooming salon in Rockville, Maryland. Two years later, the couple was ready to take their operations to the next level. As Paul said, "We needed to access the necessary capital to expand from our original Rockville location to Washington, D.C. (DC). It is difficult for new entrepreneurs with a concept like premium pet care to get traditional financing. Even though we knew it would be successful in northwest DC, the backing wasn’t there to expand."
The Abbotts qualified for two SBA-backed loans and a line of credit, all of which offered favorable terms. Had it not been for the SBA, they would not have been able to obtain the financing they needed. According to Paul, “Our first SBA-backed 7(a) loan helped us secure the location for our Adams Morgan pet hotel, spa, and daycare in 2017. At the same time, we took out an SBA-backed line of credit, which we used for working capital during this critical growth phase. Just a few days before our scheduled DC grand opening, an underground electrical line conduit in front of our new store collapsed. It took over three months to restore power. We used a second SBA-backed loan to cover the hiring and marketing costs to which we’d already committed for the original opening date."
Thanks to the SBA’s financial backing, Life of Riley was able to double its footprint, survive an otherwise catastrophic grand opening delay, and quadruple its performance over the next few years – growing from 10 to 40 employees and increasing annual revenue from $263,000 to $2 million. As a result, the Abbotts were approached with a lucrative offer that was simply too good to pass up. Although they sold their small business in August 2019, Paul and Laura proudly note they will always be known as the founders of Life of Riley.