Neighbors gather to toast college-bound entrepreneurs

Neighbors gather to toast college-bound entrepreneurs
Jesse Evans, Chris Prattos, Austin Franks, Linda Kulka with Micah and Quinn Conrad

There were mimosas, and champagne, breakfast casseroles and, of course, cookies shaped like dog bones as the San Marco’s Colonial Manor neighborhood held a Saturday good-bye brunch for their favorite dog walkers before they headed off to college.

Hosted by Suzanne and Joe Honeycutt, nearly 50 friends and neighbors stopped by their Duck Pond home to bid adieu to high school entrepreneurs Jesse Evans and Chris Prattos, owners of the Happy Hounds Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Service, and to greet Austin Franks and Quinn Conrad, two neighborhood boys who plan to take over the business while Evans and Prattos are in college.

“The party was awesome. It was so much more than our expectations,” said Evans. “We certainly will miss everyone.”

Prattos agreed. “It was a very humbling experience to see everyone show up at the party. It really made me feel that the work Jesse and I have done these past couple of years has been worthwhile and meaningful both to us and the people we have helped,” he said.

During the festivities, the dog-walking businessmen proved they also know their way around the kitchen as well as the neighborhood. The cookies, shaped like dog paws and bones, were made by hand for the party, Evans said.

“They are splendid boys and we love them and treasure them,” said Julie Mason of Prattos and Evans. “They have been a service to us with their pet sitting, and we all feel honored to have been part of their lives.”

Under new management

Although Conrad and Franks have agreed to step into the void created by the Evans and Prattos’ departure, Evans said he and his partner intend to keep their hand in the management of the lucrative business albeit from afar for the next year or two.

“I feel confident handing the torch to Austin and Quinn,” Prattos said

“Chris and I feel secure in our decision to allow them to take it over,” said Evans. “Chris and I still will provide some management, however they will have a lot of autonomy and can expand the business now that we will be gone.”

Evans said he and Prattos selected the pair because they are very responsible, interact well socially with their clients, and are both young, enabling them to stay with the business for a few years. 

Both Conrad and Franks have worked as employees of Happy Hounds. Franks is an eighth grader at Julia Landon College Preparatory School while Conrad is a sophomore at Stanton College Preparatory School. Conrad is the brother of Flagler College freshman Micah Conrad, who has also worked for the pet-sitting service over the years.

“I’m very excited to finally have a job for once and to work for myself,” said Franks. I saw them walking my dogs and know how much money they were making off of it, and I thought, ‘if they can do it, why can’t I?’”

Quinn Conrad also said he was thrilled with the opportunity. “I’m just looking to keep the business going and then expand it,” he said.

“I believe they will be able to expand the business while maintaining top-notch customer service,” said Prattos. “So far they are off to a fantastic start, and I am thrilled to pass on the business to these young men with such drive and passion.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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