With Texas Named No. 1 in Franchising Growth, DFW’s Propelled Brands Sees Tech as a Key to Success

Carrollton-based Propelled Brands—the multi-brand franchisor of FASTSIGNS International, MY SALON Suite, and NerdsToGo—grew to over 1,300 locations with its recent acquisition of Camp Bow Wow. CEO Catherine Monson tells Dallas Innovates why the doggy day care and boarding brand made for a good fit—and why the franchising landscape has evolved to become more "digitally savvy."

The International Franchise Association’s 2024 economic outlook named Texas as the No. 1 state for franchise growth for the third year in a row, with a projected 2,603 projected new franchise units, 869,265 jobs and $89.2 billion in economic output. One company helping to fuel that growth, Carrollton-based Propelled Brands, already took a bite out of 2024 earlier this month.

Propelled did that by acquiring Camp Bow Wow, a leading doggy day care and boarding franchise with over 200 locations in 40 states and Canada. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.

Propelled Brands—the multi-brand franchisor of FASTSIGNS International, MY SALON Suite, and NerdsToGo—has now grown its combined portfolio to over 1,300 locations, and will have a significant role in expanding Camp Bow Wow’s presence and development, the company said.

“Camp Bow Wow is a proven franchise organization in the pet services industry, and it’s a welcome addition into our family of brands,” Catherine Monson, president and CEO of Propelled Brands and former chair of the International Franchise Association (IFA), said in a statement. “Camp Bow Wow and its dedication to aiding entrepreneurs in realizing their aspirations of small business ownership align seamlessly with the objectives of Propelled Brands. We look forward to cultivating the rapid growth and continued development that will benefit Camp Bow Wow customers, franchise owners and team members—and continue their mission of Making Dogs Happy.”

Propelled Brands president and CEO Catherine Monson receiving an award at an International Franchise Association event [Photo: IFA]

Acquisition fits Propelled’s portfolio game plan

What made Camp Bow Wow a great fit for Propelled Brands? 

Monson told Dallas Innovates the acquisition aligns with Propelled’s strategy of acquiring “service-oriented brands that demonstrate strong growth potential, resilience to economic fluctuations, and the ability to adapt to changing consumer behaviors.”

For the rest of 2024, Propelled is interested in the categories of health and wellness, professional services, business services, home services, and technology-driven services—reflecting broader trends in business and consumer priorities and technological advancements.

And of course, pet care is right in that ballpark.

With the acquisition of Camp Bow Wow, Propelled Brands has now entered the “rapidly expanding” pet services industry, which the company says “has seen significant growth due to trends such as dog parents considering their dogs as members of the family, increased pet ownership, and a rise in spending on pet care and services.”

Propelled called the pet services industry “particularly attractive for franchising” due to its resilience in economic downturns and a recurring revenue model that includes pet boarding, grooming, and daycare.

Propelled was founded in 2021; CEO was on ‘Undercover Boss’

Propelled Brands was founded in 2021 as a multi-brand franchisor platform company dedicated to accelerating the growth of service-oriented franchise brands “with an unrelenting focus on franchising best practices and franchisee profitability and satisfaction.” Its private equity owners are Freeman Spogli and LightBay Capital.

“We use our extensive knowledge of franchising best practice and deep resources, which results in a clear growth trajectory for the unique position, purpose, and momentum of each brand,” Propelled says.

CEO Monson knows her way around a franchise. She has served on the IFA board of directors for 15 years and as chair from February 2020 to February 2022, and is the only two-term chair of the IFA. She also previously appeared on the hit CBS show “Undercover Boss.”

But she didn’t have to go undercover to know how much people love dogs.

“With dog ownership up and strong demand for products and services to meet their needs, now is an ideal time for us to get into the pet services industry,” Monson said of acquiring Camp Bow Wow, which was founded in 2000. “We plan to grow this business with existing franchise owners and introduce the Camp Bow Wow brand to new potential franchise owners and customers.”

Propelled says the company is optimally positioned in a market with “over 95% of U.S. pet owners now viewing pets as a member of their family, and driving spending on premium products that prioritize pet health and wellbeing.” The company noted that pet ownership increased to 53% of U.S. households, compared to 50% pre-pandemic. A resurgence in post-pandemic travel and the return to office has driven even greater need for dog day care and boarding solutions, the company added.

Seeing North Texas as primed for ‘digitally savvy’ franchising

Propelled Brands believes North Texas has “a supportive business environment for franchising due to its strong economy, favorable tax climate, and growing population,” As a result, the region can offer “a fertile ground for testing new concepts and scaling successful ones compared to other areas in the U.S.,” the company said.

And Dallas-Fort Worth’s growing prominence as a tech hub fits another franchising puzzle piece, which Propelled says is “the increasing importance of technology in franchise operations,” as well as the focus on multi-unit and multi-brand ownership.

“The franchising landscape has evolved over the past few years to become more digitally savvy, with an increased focus on online marketing, mobile applications, customer portals, and data analytics to enhance customer experiences and streamline operations,” Propelled noted.

Where franchising is headed next depends, of course, to some degree on the larger economy. 

“Maybe we’ll hit the soft landing economists are predicting including a good, strong positive economy with slight growth. Since nobody knows what exactly is going to happen, great management is more important than ever,” Monson said. “That means driving growth and revenue and managing expenses.”

“There is still inflation,” she added, “but it’s growing at a slower rate. It’s important for business owners, both franchisees and franchisors alike, to be constantly managing expenses and look for alternate supply chains and other ways to manage expenses.”

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