Toni Cory had been working at the Mt. Pleasant Iowa Motorola factory for 27 years when the company announced it was closing the plant. Toni and her husband Paul talked many times over the years about they wished they could find a good place to leave their dogs when they went away.
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How a Plant Closing Resulted in a Dream Business

Toni Cory had been working at the Mt. Pleasant Iowa Motorola factory for 27 years when the company announced it was closing the plant. "I could have found another factory job" said Toni, "but I was tired of working in a factory".

Toni and her husband Paul talked many times over the years about they wished they could find a good place to leave their dogs when they went away. The plant closing was her chance, Cory said, "what if we start a dog day care ourselves?" She took a Start Your Own Business course at the local community college.

They made a plan: They would sell their house and buy a larger piece of property. Paul would take a year off from his one-person construction company and build a house and a kennel building on the property. They would need a bank loan so Toni used what she learned in her course to write a business plan. To gather marketing and demographic data she called on local veterinarians. Her plan showed that the business would make s small profit in the first year.

She brought her business plan to the bank. The banker said, "This is a rural area where people think of their dogs like livestock. When they go away they just throw some food down and leave. They don't need a kennel." She asked the banker, "whose picture is that on your desk?" Prominently displayed on the banker's desk was a picture of his dog. He agreed to loan them the money.

As a condition for the loan, the bank required Toni and Paul to put up all their assets, including their retirement account. Paul even sold the 1970 pickup he had been restoring.

Toni had only a slim idea of what was involved in running a kennel and dog day care business, so she went to The Dog Zone, a dog day care in Ceder Rapids for a day of on-the-job training. The owners Dawn and Dick Walton shared everything with Toni. She left with the confidence that she could do it.

Using the severance benefits from her Motorola employment Toni went to the Tom Rose School for Dog Training in St. Louis. After an intense five-month program that taught everything from obedience training to the fundamentals of running a dog training business, Toni became a Certified Professional Dog trainer.

When ever Toni and Paul went into town to get building materials and inventory for their future dog care business, they would inevitably run into people who would say they had been looking for a good place to leave their dogs when they went away and they couldn't wait for the kennel to open. "That's what really kept us going" says Toni.

Toward the end of construction the bank money started dwindling. Toni had to go back to the bank for an additional loan. The banker, having talked to people and seeing how excited they were about be getting a good place to leave their dogs, approved the additional money.

Finally, one year after Toni lost her job, the kennel building was done. She sent emails to all her former co-workers at Motorola inviting them to the grand opening. The first month Toni took in $670. The second month receipts were $2,600. Today the business continues to grow.

Test-Drive Your Dream Job

In Test-Drive Your Dream Job you'll discover how you can identify, explore and experience your dream job, and how or if you want to pursue it. Author Brian Kurth, founder of VocationVacations, offers professional, personal and financial perspectives on how to transition into a new career and turn your dream job into a reality without risking your current job or jeopardizing your financial stability. Click here for more information.

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