Stacey Stamps and her veterinarian husband own Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills, recently named best veterinary clinic by the Wichita Eagle’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Tell us about your company and how you feel about your recent award.
To win this award during the Covid-19 pandemic is especially meaningful because it feels eerily similar to the year they opened for business. We launched our hospital Jan. 5, 2008, as the third tenant with Auburn Pointe Shopping Center next to a Dillon's that had just been built at 135th & W. Maple. When you launch a small business at the exact time the country goes into recession, you learn a thing or two. Every person who walks through your door truly is a blessing - especially in a tight economy. And we need to be a blessing right back.
Many families in 2008 were relinquishing their pets to the Kansas Humane Society because they could not afford their care. People were losing their homes to foreclosures. We practiced generosity. We worked long hours with a skeleton crew and helped people maintain that precious human-animal bond.”
Those early lessons formed the basis for our vision and mission: We help Wichita area pet parents solve veterinary problems and strengthen their human-animal bond. In other words, to love better. Now, after 12 years of steady growth we have a team of 10 that also includes an associate veterinarian.
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?
Initially we joined the Chamber to get help launching our Courage Fund, which provides free veterinary care to Wichita’s Police & Fire working dogs. Chamber leadership helped us plan our launch event in 2019 complete with a ribbon-cutting (pictured left) and a Proclamation by the Wichita Mayor. But it was the Chamber’s constant support during the COVID-19 pandemic that won our forever loyalty. By contrast, in 2008 we suffered alone. In 2020, we locked arms with the Wichita business community and supported each other.
What is the best thing about working with businesses in the Wichita area?
I love the understanding from small business owners who’ve developed grit through struggles. Though my official title is marketing & community engagement, I’ve juggled many roles and part-time jobs while raising a family, including teaching journalism seven years at Trinity Academy. “I’ve given Girl Scouts tours at our hospital, I’ve scrubbed boarding kennels, and I’ve likely mopped this hospital floor a thousand times,” she said.
Describe a recent success/win.
In our early years, someone wrote a negative Yelp review and mischaracterized our treatment philosophies. Although some other pet families replied and disagreed, that lone review was the first thing people would see if they looked us up online. That hurt a lot. To win the 2020 Readers Choice Award for Best Veterinary Clinic is a huge blessing!
To what do you attribute your success?
When my husband spoke at the ribbon-cutting for the Courage Fund event, he quoted Jesus by saying “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” We used to drive around the neighborhoods near our hospital while it was being built and prayed that we would find favor with Wichita pet owners. We attribute all our success to God.
Do you have an upcoming event/program or product launch that might interest our members?
Yes! We will have a professional portrait of Wichita’s newest working dog on our walls. On Sept. 29, professional photographer Milt Mounts of Essential Images donated his time and talent to photograph (picture to the right) Detective Stephanie Neal and Boomer, her explosive detection Golden Retriever! We have the privilege of providing free veterinary care to Boomer through our Courage Fund. You can vote on your favorite of the photos on our Facebook to help us decide which one should go up on our walls.
What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
Definitely the ribbon-cuttings. I try to comment on every social media post the chamber publishes as well. I love cheering on other business owners because it’s such a big, scary risk to launch!
What is something people may not know about you or your organization?
I have more than 100 allergies, mostly to animals, and I’m married to a veterinarian! We have stained concrete flooring and central vacuuming in the practice so I do pretty well.
What has Chamber membership brought to you and your organization?
It’s really during a crisis that you learn who your friends are. When the pandemic hit, the Chamber was there with resources, encouragement and guidance. We felt very cared for and that’s the foundation of a good relationship. Everything else is just gravy.
The Courage Fund launch was also a huge blessing - chamber leadership invited people, brought their own kids, published photos and more.
What about your organization are you most passionate?
The human-animal bond is fascinating and research is exploding in this area. Our team is passionate about the bond pet families have and how we can make it better. In fact, to encourage folks to spend time with their pets we host two summer-long programs: Walk-My-Dog program and Read to Your Own Rex program
What is your favorite business book?
Storybrand by Donald Miller. He helps business owners communicate clearly and engage with the public.
Other Chamber members you have partnered/worked with?
When COVID-19 hit our community and restaurants were greatly affected, we reached out through social media and invited business owners to add coupons and swag to our summer walking and reading program prize packs. We had about a dozen businesses partner with us so we think it was win-win.