A few weeks ago, we made our first investment in the veterinary world, buying a majority ownership stake in the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. We’re very excited about this news.
AHDC is a great hospital. Five veterinarians work there, along with a great clinical and front-office staff. What’s impressive about this hospital is that not only do the people there practice great medicine, but for how long they have been doing it: almost 50 years. Today, AHDC is an institution in the Harrisburg-Hershey community. Drs. Bob Sarsfield and Jim Kepner have built a great practice and a wonderful culture of animal care and respect.
We met Bob and Jim more than a year ago and began talking with them about their vision for the future. Turned out that our idea of partnership fit right into their plans. Jim, for example, was looking for a way to step away from the administrative tasks at the hospital. For years he had been responsible for the payroll, paying bills and other back-office jobs. Today, we’ve taken over those responsibilities and Jim has more time to spend with his patients and family.
For Bob, who is younger than Jim, the opportunity to partner with us allowed him to pay down some debt and buyout his partner. “We’ve taken the business as far as we can take it,” Bob told us over dinner one night a few months ago. “We’re hoping you guys can help us evolve the business and take us to the next level of growth.”
Last week we spent a few hours with the staff, talking about our vision for Community Veterinary Partners and answering questions. Bob talked about his excitement about bringing us on as investors. “I trust these guys,” he said. “I believe they’re here for the right reasons. This is good not only for Jim and me, but for the hospital as well.”
We’re lucky to have Bob as a partner. We’re also lucky to have investors who are in it for the long run. We certainly have ideas about how to improve operations at veterinary hospitals — we’ve been writing and talking about them for the last year. But we are taking our time. Sure we have a few immediate things in mind — we’re adding Direct Deposit as on option for payroll, and we’re going to build a Web site (AHDC doesn’t have one right now).
Maybe most exciting for us, is that we are going to shadow each of the jobs in the hospital over the next month or so. Kennel, assistant tech, tech, veterinarian, reception. We’re going to do them all.
– Danny, Marc and Michael.