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Minnesotan To Meet: A Twin Cities Family & Their 'Boutique Hotel For Dogs'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Sometimes you just get "dogged" by the pursuit of a dream. That's the case for one Twin Cities family.

John Sturgess spent 20 years operating and developing hotels before having his career go to the dogs. In 2011, he, his wife, Stacey, and daughter, Ellie, decided to combine the families love for Fido with John's business background.

"Adogo" quickly caught the attention of pet owners. That's what makes John a Minnesotan to Meet.

The family doesn't like calling it a kennel.

"We're a boutique hotel for dogs," John said.

The human hotel industry is something John worked in for 23 years. At one point, Carlson Hotels worldwide had him operating and developing five brands in North and South America.

"I developed more than 800 human hotels in my career," John said.

Often on the road, John was away from his entire family, including their two golden retrievers.

"They don't know if you've been gone a week or five minutes, but they can't wait to see you," John said.

So, after researching the business for 10 years, the Sturgess' opened their first site in Minnetonka. The second location in Maple Grove also offers boarding, day care, training and grooming services.

The whole family is involved. John's wife Stacey helps with HR and marketing and his 7-year-old daughter Ellie doesn't just love dogs, she also likes working on site monitoring the daycare cameras.

"We call Ellie our Chief Dog Officer," John said.

The two locations could top more than $2 million. Sturgess wants to open a third soon and expand past Minnesota.

"We're looking at other markets, like Chicago and Dallas," Sturgess said.

Sturgess finds more similarities than differences in human versus dog hotels.

"They may not talk, but you know their attitude," Sturgess said.

Each dog gets a custom room and multiple play areas. The hotel has rewards programs and shuttle service, just like human hotels.

Daycare starts at $28 a day. Overnight costs go from $35 to $75, depending on the size of your dog. They're open to cats down the road, but for now, it's only about the pooches.

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