Business Profile: Fen Vet

Reinventing the veterinarian experience

 Whether he's sitting face-to-face with a nose-licking pooch or posing for photos with a youngster's birthday party, "Just say Fleas," Cody Creelman strives for that personal touch.

From the open concept treatment rooms, to the bright welcoming entrance to the soothing classical music and smell reducing diffusers, the Fen Vet owner has reinvented the veterinarian experience.

"This was the test kitchen to see how people respond to a better customer experience," says Creelman of his flagship Main Street animal hospital location. "That's the crux of our business model. How do you flood people's brains with dopamine so they are happy when they are here and their pets are less anxious and happy when they leave?"

Inspired by a Calgary restaurant layout, Creelman stepped away from that "doctor's office" feel in designing Fen Vet. Clients, two and four legged, are greeted with bright, airy windows, skylights and free-standing walls.

"I wanted it to be wide open, looking in, because this is where the magic happens in a veterinarian hospital. I don't know of any other vet clinic that has open concept treatment rooms."

With comfort in mind, pets are treated to special soft-close tempered glass kennels, heating pads and no "jail like" bars. Think more "doggy spa" Creelman says. With state-of-the-art medical equipment Fen Vet provides in-house full body x-rays, a dedicated dentistry suit with radiology, ultrasound, blood work and surgical suit.

The mixed animal clinic has seen ferrets, dogs and cats, a couple of ducks, a black bear cub and fox as well as out of clinic farm animals.

Keeping with his transparency theme several of these meetings have been documented on Creelman's Fen Vet social media feeds, which has garnered a large following.

"People need those anchor points in order to build trust with you. They like being able to see that human being in the clinic and how they're interacting with pets and how they're communicating with clients. That's what it is, word of mouth marketing on steroids."

Like a vigorous, contented tail wagging, all of this has combined for early success in the dog-loving Airdrie community.

"The Airdrie community has 100 percent rallied behind us right from the get-go. We have exceeded all expectations in terms of growth," says Creelman who praises his team. "They're all just the best people. At the end of the day that's the service that we sell, is our interactions with our customers."

Learn more about Fen Vet on Facebook, Instagram and fenvet.com.

Story and photography by Carl Patzel