Immediate boarding, a full-service pet care center located five minutes from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will reopen on Monday February 15 under a new owner. The facility closed in mid-July 2020 due to a drop in the number of air travelers induced by the pandemic.
Adam Jennings bought the business from the Animal Humane Society in January. Although Now Boarding is no longer affiliated with the animal welfare organization, Jennings plans to run the facility with much of the same infrastructure in place.
âI want to give this place back to all the glory it had when the Animal Humane Society owned it,â Jennings said. “What they built was really special, and I want to do all I can to honor this legacy and continue to develop it.”
This includes the rehiring of many of the 42 staff who were made redundant in July. Jennings has rehired 15 former employees so far and plans to expand more as Now Boarding grows. The Animal Humane Society founded the facility in 2008.
Lori Larson, who previously worked at Now Boarding in an administrative and financial role, returns as Managing Director.
âI am really looking forward to seeing the team, our customers and their pets,â said Larson. “We are becoming a family to them, and I missed them.”
The nearly 30,000 square foot facility can hold up to 200 dogs, cats and other creatures at a time. In order to properly follow CDC Covid-19 guidelines, services will be rolled out in phases, starting with boarding, child care, baths and nail trimming. Grooming and training will be reintroduced later.
Hand sanitizing stations have been set up throughout the building, and each employee will be monitored daily for temperature and symptoms. Social distancing and masks will be mandatory.
Curb drop-off and pickup is mandatory at this time, although Covid-19 regulations do not affect the ability of Now Boarding pets. Reservations can be made online or by phone.
From now on, boarding is open 24/7. It also offers parking and shuttles for guests arriving or leaving MSP Airport.
Certainly, Jennings faces a difficult business climate. According to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, total passenger traffic at MSP Airport fell to 14.9 million in 2020, down 62% from 2019.
Despite the severe effects of the pandemic on the travel industry – and the subsequent blow to pet boarding – Jennings is optimistic about 2021. He says that if Now Boarding makes enough money to break even, he will consider it a success.
âI truly believe that our darkest days are behind us, when it comes to Covid; I think we’re on the rise, âJennings said. âI will make sure that we are well capitalized to be able to weather any storm. There were a lot of things that were unknown last spring, and initially when we heard about Covid there was a lot of fear. Over time throughout 2020, we have learned more about the virus and how to deal with it in our daily lives. “
Jennings has heard from many past customers, many of whom have already received their first shots, who are eager to travel and bring their pets to Now Boarding again. He even started booking for the holidays in December.
âI can’t wait to see the team come together again. I used the phrase ‘Hey let’s get the band back together’,â Jennings said. âIt was a lot of fun watching the camaraderie as people got back on board. There is just a buzz about the place.