At a facility tucked into a Carmel shopping center, pet owners find urns to store their deceased animals’ ashes and a chapel to say their last goodbyes. They’re offered hugs and condolences and the chance to memorialize their pets by screen-printing their pictures onto plates or throws.
This place emerged from Coleen Ellis‘ vision of providing the high-quality after-care offered to humans for the furry creatures that, in many households, are like members of the family.
She opened Pet Angel Memorial Center in 2004, and the concept took off so successfully that it’s on its way to being franchised nationwide, with hopes of expanding to 500 locations over the next 7 years.
With the help of a few private- equity investors, Ellis closed on a location in Wichita, Kan., last week and a Tampa, Fla., site Friday.
Early next year, she plans to expand locally with a Greenwood location and other stores throughout the Indianapolis area, although no firm plans have been set. The corporate headquarters and training center will be in Carmel.
Ellis said that as the company grows, so will the concept of treating pet death with dignity.
‘I think 10 or 15 years from now, when your pet dies, you’ll call the pet funeral director,’ said Ellis, who previously worked in human funeral services. ‘We’ll be the ones not only leading the charge, but setting the standard for your pet funeral home.’
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