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Baldwin Park Living
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2017 1 year ago

Must love dogs

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Kacey Kelly, owner of Kacey Cares, is building her own dog dynasty in Baldwin Park.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

It all started out on a small stretch of green, open space in Baldwin Park.

Under a blue sky, the dogs ran in dead sprints back-and-forth across the lush grass at Enders Park as they chased one another.

You’d think they would be bothered by the sticky heat of a Florida summer, but it doesn’t faze them at all — they’re too busy enjoying each other’s company. 

As the dogs played, a close eye kept watch from just a few yards away.

Kacey Kelly, of Kacey Kares, stood with a warm-hearted smile that seemingly went from ear to ear. For her, those dogs mean everything — while the job part is simply a formality.

“I literally get to play with dogs all day,” Kelly says with a laugh. “What more can you ask for?”

The Jupiter native moved to Baldwin Park for her time at the University of Central Florida, where she graduated in May with a degree in communications. 

She originally had planned to go into fashion, because it had always been a passion, but then she began to notice the abundance of pups around Baldwin Park.

“It was heaven on earth,” Kelly says. “I just saw these dogs and I met so many neighbors, and I would use to ask them if I could borrow their dogs. I was like, ‘Can I take your dog to get a puppuccino at Starbucks? Can the dog sleep over?’”

That passion for animals of the four-legged variety has been with Kelly for as long as she can remember. As an only child, the many family dogs she had growing up served an important role as surrogate brothers and sisters. Many nights, when it was just her in the bed alone, Kelly would have difficulties falling asleep because she was afraid. But that was before a yellow lab named Pumpkin came into her life.

“I would say, ‘Pumpkin, you know the drill!’ And she would jump up and sleep with me until I fell asleep every single night,” Kelly says. “She was literally the best dog in the world.”

From that intrinsic love for animals came the concept for Kacey Kares, Kelly’s all-encompassing pet-care business that offers a wide range of services such as dog walking and pet taxiing. She also takes care of cats, as well.

Although starting a pet-service business was a new idea for Kelly, she wasn’t alone in getting things started. 

Before moving to full-time with her new business in June, Kelly worked sparingly at Magic Pet in Baldwin Park, where she performed a slew of different tasks in the shop.

At Magic Pet, she had become known as being a trustworthy and friendly pet lover, which helped grow her clientele.

Between the 40 clients she had amassed by May and Kelly’s want to not leave behind the people she had met, she decided to give herself a year to see where the business would go. Needless to say, it’s going exactly how she had dreamed.

Since June, Kelly has stayed busy — she has built her clientele base from that initial 40 to her current 55 to 60 paying customers.

“I pretty much work seven days a week, and I don’t take vacations, though every once in a while, I’ll take a Friday off or something, but it’s very rare,” Kelly says. “I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed. If it’s not me staying at a dog owner’s house, I have a dog staying with me at my house.”

My dad always told me that if you find your passion,then the money will

 follow — and I always said, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ Now I know, and I 

really do hope that, because I love it so much, that it will pay off in the end.”

Between the current workload and constant working, Kelly has been giving a lot of thought on bringing aboard another provider, although she said the prospect makes her nervous. To Kelly, Kacey Kares is her “child,” and she’s very protective of it.

Along with the possibilities of bringing in new help, Kelly is expanding her brand through different means — which includes a new Kacey Kares app for her customers.

“It will be a scheduler, and it will have meet-ups for puppy parties for clients to meet and bring their dog — it will be a social media for them to say, ‘Oh do you want to go to the park? I’ll be at the park at this time,’” Kelly says. “I’m also going to start branding with local businesses — so if they (clients) show a part on my app, they’ll get discounts from different businesses in Baldwin.”

Although the future is always uncertain, Kelly harbors big dreams for Kacey Kares and is excited and ready for whatever happens to come next — whether it be her pet-care business or branching out into other concierge services. 

“I’m feeling very optimistic,” Kelly says. “My dad always told me that if you find your passion, then the money will follow — and I always said, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ Now I know, and I really do hope that, because I love it so much, that it will pay off in the end.”

Troy Herring is the associate editor at the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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