The Story of ``Four Paws Kingdom* Campground``

How we designed, built, managed and operated the
“First and Only Dog dedicated Campground in the US”
2001 – 2016

Hello, my name is Meik Bartoschek. Thanks for your interest in our “story”. We hope that our journey will give you an understanding on how we approached this “impossible” adventure.

A few months shy of the big “Four – O” my wife Brigit and I decided that we had reached a point in our lives that demanded one last big adventure.

During many hours of driving down crowded Interstates with our truck and camper and our Corgi “Mister Schroeder” we had loosely defined the direction in which to head. A road (not less traveled) but a road instead nobody had traveled before.

After taking inventory of our combined skills and knowledge, from hospitality to management, from dog training to marketing, from fine art to magic and from customer service to balancing a budget – we had done it all – in one capacity or another.

So it seemed only natural to us, to do the one thing nobody had done before.

To Build the “First and Only Dog Dedicated Campground of the United States”

and so the quest began…

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ― Laozi

We packed our camper, visited a campground broker and started our journey to find the perfect campground to convert into the place of our dreams.

Fast forward a couple of months.

All the campgrounds that were remotely affordable were completely unsuitable and our search shifted to finding the perfect property to build our dream campground from scratch.

We finally found it in Rutherfordton, NC and luck would have it that the perfect property waited for us in shape of an old 32 acres farm with lots of untouched fields, meadows, a small forest and a creek.

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

Contracts were written, money exchanged hands and the big move from sunny Florida to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was executed with military precision (no not really).

In February of 2001 the work started and we spent countless hours literally measuring the forest, laying out campsites, marking trees to keep and trees to cut, designating roads, areas for the individual dog parks, the bath-house, septic fields, electric power hookups, parking spaces and maintenance areas.

Our building inspectors office (by their own admission – years later) thought we were completely nuts and it wasn’t always easy to obtain the required permits for our all encompassing work zone.

But time flew by and many months, emergency room visits, miles of underground wires, pipes, cables and footers later, our dream slowly but steadily developed a face, a layout that would soon become the pillar of our continuing efforts to create our dream of a safe, friendly and happy doggy haven named

Four Paws Kingdom* Campground.

We built the park from scratch with the help of a friendly logger (who agreed to save a majority of our trees), a visionary contractor with a bulldozer and a big heart (who did the very, very heavy lifting – RIP Craig), a carpenter (who showed me how to create buildings made out of wood), several, ever – changing, hourly helpers who came and went as they pleased and of course three years of our own labor digging ditches, running water and electric lines, grade sites, seed grass, built cabins, pavilion, bathhouse, decks and handicapped ramps, sweat copper, set toilets, paint, stain and dig.

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out." Robert Collier

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." Vidal Sassoon

We (soft-opened) in April of 2004 and the adventure of a lifetime took shape.

We quickly realized that what we presented on opening day was just the frame work of what “Four Paws Kingdom* (TM)” was supposed to become.

Over the course of the next 12 years we added 6 more dog parks, numerous campsites and several more rental units, a commercial kitchen and a stage with full lighting and sound system. We improved all of our sites, upgraded the pavilion, paved the entrance roads, upgraded all rentals, renovated, planted, re-seeded, painted and improved.

All in all, there wasn’t a single year that we did not re-invest time, money and effort to improve the park and make it more camper and dog friendly.

Our events calendar grew from a few events per year to events every weekend. From dog seminars covering topics as grooming and obedience to weekly agility classes, big parties like Oktoberfest and Corgiritaville, Las Vegas Night and 50’s Party.

Every day, week and month was a learning experience helping us to accumulate a vast amount of knowledge about the campground industry in general, customer service, budgeting, niche marketing, legal issues, event planning, hiring, training and rewarding work campers, finding the right goods to sell, the right contractors to hire and so much more…

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We have been asked many times what our main advice would be for campground owners who’d like to specialize, create a niche or even tackle the “dog dedicated” route.

Well, here is a starting point.

Whether you want to tackle a niche, run a family park or an overnighter one thing is certain:

If you want campers to come to your park, love it, return to you and become regulars, your park design and layout, your site, facilities and amenities, your brand appearance, marketing, website, mission statement, social media presence and overall presentation needs to be impeccable.

Over the last 35 plus years working in the hotel, hospitality and campground industry we spent countless days developing, improving and fine tuning these very important issues.

 

The sheer amount of knowledge, expertise , skills and wisdom we were blessed to acquire in all the above mentioned disciplines is staggering.

And now we feel it is time for us to offer this cornucopia of knowledge to interested campground owners who might be new to the industry, looking for a boost or struggling to find the right direction.

but, "How can I afford to do that?"

We’ll make it easy for you!

“After more than 35 years in the hospitality business, selling and retiring from our last entrepreneurial adventure in 2016, my wife and I decided to enter a phase of semi-retirement.

We are now free to travel the country with our Corgi ambassador named Belle to consult, mentor, teach and train interested campground owners who are new to the industry, decided to improve or upgrade their parks or those who want to change direction and make their park more suitable and desirable to the dog community. All of the above in person or remotely via Zoom or Skype and most importantly at a fraction of the cost a traditional consulting company would have to charge you.

Add to the mix the fact that we will give you a FREE initial consultation and decide for yourself if you have an excuse not to give it try.”

We can offer You the Services listed below:

Mentoring / Coaching

30 or 60 Min. Sessions
via Phone or Skype 

Conceptual Design

e.g. Site Layout / Dog Park construction / 
Roads / Bath House / Utilities / Hook-ups etc.

Q&A

your questions answered
30 or 60 Min. Sessions

via phone or Skype

Customer Service

Training / Concepts

Marketing Strategies

SEO / Online / Off-Line
Social Media

Office Organization

from Check-in Forms to Software
from Workcamper Acquisition to
Store Inventory

Online Presence

Design / Hosting
Video Production
Social Media 

Marketing

On Site Visits

All of the Services previously mentioned
limited availability / 
ask for available dates

Contact us below for a FREE initial Consultation

Contact Us
Disclaimer:  Copyright © 2017 by Four Paws Arts and Training, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
*Four Paws Kingdom (TM) is now a Trademark of Smore Management Inc. a NC Corporation. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.