Friday, April 16, 2010

From Wall Street to Doggy Day Care

Maybe it was the shorter and far less stressful commute. Then again, it could have been walking down city streets without the whole shoulder-to-shoulder effect.

More than likely, though, those two elements, along with less hustle and bustle altogether, gave Amy Ryan what she could only describe as “major-league culture shock.”

But the franchise owner of Camp Bow Wow’s newest Greater Cleveland location in Highland Heights knew what she was getting into and wanted every bit of it. She didn’t go into detail, but she didn’t mention many fond memories from her time in the Big Apple — all 22 years of it.

During that time she worked for a few large, famed companies like Prudential Securities and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. on Wall Street. Before her move here two years ago, she asked herself what she was going to do next with her life. Ryan said any move had to fulfill two prerequisites: Allow her to continue making money (she undoubtedly made a lot of it as a specialty retail analyst on Wall Street) and enable her to have fun at the same time, something that eluded her in her final years in the big city.

The jingling chains and playful barks heard at 31 Alpha Park let you know what Ryan’s choice was. Joining the Camp Bow Wow franchise was also inspired by her own four Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

“The demographics and the opportunity was there for pets,” she said. “There’s this whole humanization of pet trend going on. I don’t think a lot of people realize that the dog population in United States equates to 90 percent of the child population under (age ) 18.”

Ryan was born in Ohio, but raised in Terre Haute, Ind. She got her MBA at Vanderbilt University before her stint in New York. She has no real ties to Northeast Ohio, but said Cleveland was one of a few options when she decided to go into the doggy day care business in a slower paced setting.

But not everybody could make such a decision, especially when the money and benefits are good and the city never sleeps. So, again, why did you do it, Amy?

“I (lived and worked in New York) for 22 years, and it really does get old. As you grow and get older, your values change. What was important then isn’t important now. There were times when I would leave work and say, ‘what did I do for the good of mankind today except for make some money?’ I wanted something a little more worthwhile. I miss a lot of it, but at the same time I’m really excited about this.”

You have to respect that.

-- Brandon C. Baker

Photo: Maribeth Joeright

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