CEDAR FALLS — The building at 4728 University Ave. has been home to a number of businesses over the years, among them Shakey’s and Happy Joe’s pizza parlors, a rental car company and a Sylvan Learning Center.
Last week, after a monthslong renovation and expansion, it opened as Companion Animal Clinic and Pet Resort, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.
Drs. Colleen and Ben Nemmers relocated the clinic to its spacious new digs from its previous home about a mile away. In doing so, they more than tripled the clinic’s space and added a number of services. Doors opened Dec. 16.
“We wanted to stay in the neighborhood. I have clients who walk here for appointments,” Colleen noted. “Our clients love it. They’re pretty excited about it.”
Construction on the building, which sits on two acres, began in March. A far cry from the 2,600 square feet of the old clinic, the new 9,000-square-foot facility features two surgery suites, an x-ray suite, an intensive care ward, cat and dog boarding suites, a pharmacy, a grooming suite staffed by two groomers, and an area in which dog training services may be offered in the future.
More than 30 brightly colored paintings adorn walls throughout the clinic, a special project of artist Cindy Stubbs of Cedar Falls, who also is Ben’s mother.
Adjacent to the building is a new 4,500-square-foot, climate-controlled indoor arena, the home of the clinic’s new doggy daycare. Dogs can romp indoors and on nice days play outside in a spacious fenced area complete with turf that’s gentle on paws.
Staffing will increase from 12 to about 20 to cover the full range of services now offered at Companion Animal Clinic and Pet Resort.
Colleen is a Philadelphia native and Ben grew up in Cedar Falls. They met at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation in 2009 they moved to Colorado where they practiced for five years. They had opportunity to buy a practice there, but Ben’s roots led them back to the Cedar Valley.
“It’s a great place to raise kids,” Colleen said.
The couple have two children, ages 7 and 5. Their family is rounded out by Ranger, a 2-year-old Doberman pincer mix rescued from Cedar Bend Humane Society, and Dakota, a 12-year-old husky from a Kansas City, Mo., rescue.
For the last four months, Ben spent every Thursday at the construction site making sure things were on schedule and built according to plan. The last two weeks before the opening were “mass chaos,” Colleen joked, but opening day was “surprisingly smooth.”
The project was a massive undertaking, Colleen said, but she and her husband are committed to the Cedar Valley. An investment in the clinic is an investment in their home.
“We want this to be the last place we practice medicine,” she said.
The new Companion Animal Clinic and Pet Resort
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