VERPLANCK, N.Y. – Many businesses spend extravagantly on team-building retreats for its employees. Canine Kindergarten co-owner Lisa Smith and her team in Verplanck found a far less costly alternative and helped give its award-winning Verplanck location a new look in the process.
Led by senior operation manager Krissy Boos, nearly all of Canine Kindergarten’s 10 employees helped paint murals in various sections of the facility. Smith hesitated at first when Boos, the long-time senior operations manager, and employees suggested murals. She was pleasantly surprised with the results.
“We needed a fresh, new look,’’ Smith said. “We had renovated the reception area, and the staff came to make and said they’d like to paint murals on the wall. I thought it was good work spirit and motivation. I said if I like, we can go to bigger areas.”
The employees did not have experience creating murals, which led to Smith’s hesitancy. After seeing the first project, the employees wanted to do more. The group started with a forest scene with trees in a lounge where dogs that are staying at Canine Kindergarten sleep. They also did a water scene in a small gym and a mountain scene in a large gym. About 10 employees volunteered for the project.
“I had my reservations,’’ Smith said. “But we don’t get a lot of criticism from the dogs. I wanted to think outside the box, and this was a good way to do that. I don’t want a stale look. You have to keep it fresh and keep it interesting. We want to keep it up to date.”
The first mural took nearly two weeks to complete. The other murals are nearly done. It is just one more perk for pet owners to enjoy at Canine Kindergarten, which offers day care, cage-free boarding, training, grooming and pet sitting. The business has won Best of Westchester awards for three straight years and five times since 2006.
“I loved the mural,’’ Smith said. “I thought it was professionally done. But for me, it was the bigger picture. I can get my staff to work together on something they really enjoy. People pay a lot to do these team-building seminars. Here, mine are working together as volunteers. Generally, our employees are young. An experience like this gives them something they need. It’s something they don’t teach in schools.”
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