SBA 504 Loan: Helping dogs and owners alike

Lewis & Clark Development Group is closing out the federal fiscal year having processed $4.9 million in SBA 504 loans. The small businesses that have benefited from the loans run the gamut and touch on almost every economic sector.

One of the most unique businesses – and one of the most enjoyable projects for LCD Group’s Commercial Loan Officer Derrick Becker – was PAWZ Enrichment Center. 

If you know Becker, you’ll understand why. He loves dogs and Becker is in good and crowded company.

New Bismarck business part of national trend

Last year alone, Americans spent $109.6 billion on their pets. This amount reflects Americans’ attachment to their pets but also accounts for an expanding number of boutique businesses catering to the needs of animals and their owners.

Bismarck’s PAWZ Enrichment Center is one such business. Owner Jan Joersz launched PAWZ last year to fit what was an evident need for a business specializing in dog training, support, and specialized services for both dogs and their masters.

“After training my own dogs for about 25 years and going to the limited local trainers that Bismarck had at the time, I drove to Fargo one day a week for two years to train in agility because Bismarck did not have any,” says Joersz. “I felt strongly that the Bismarck area needed a place so dog owners, like me, did not have to go so far to get high quality dog training.”

PAWZ offers a range of services consisting of day-training classes, weekly training sessions,  practice ‘floor time’ for competition skills, obedience classes, grooming services, and a retail store.

According to Joersz day-training consists of half-day or full-day training in basic obedience skills, which includes both group activities and individual training along with play and rest time for the animals.  Practice ‘floor time’ training is geared towards owners who compete with their dog in competitions.

Joersz says PAWZ is currently averaging 14 to 20 dogs daily for their day training program and another 30 plus dogs attend the center’s weekly training classes. More than 180 dogs have gone through PAWZ’s training classes.

All about building positive relationships

“Quality dog training is a constant need as new dogs are born and rescued every day. Our goal is to educate people and help them develop a positive relationship with their dogs,” says Joersz.

“We use fear-free training techniques with positive reinforcement based on helping each dog make good choices so they become a well-behaved family pet.”

For Joersz, it was important to create a full-service center for dogs and their owners. In addition to training classes, PAWZ also provides daycare (based on reservation), puppy care classes and puppy social times. The center also offers free consultations and provides owners with comprehensive information on nutrition, dog care, and training.

“We also provide rooms for gatherings where dog owners and their pets can come together because we want PAWZ to be a one-stop shop for all dog care needs,” notes Joersz. 

“I’m a big believer and promoter of local businesses so I wanted to make sure that we not only had a retail store but that our store also provide locally made dog-related items.”

For Derrick Becker, helping Joersz get an SBA 504 Loan was a pleasure. 

“As a dog owner I embraced Jan’s vision right away. She had a clear business plan aimed at meeting a real need in the Bismarck-Mandan area. I’ve taken my own dog to PAWZ for training and I cannot recommend them enough. If you own a dog and live in south central North Dakota I encourage you to check out PAWZ,” says Becker.

In addition to working with LCD Group, Joersz also worked with Starion Bank to make her business dream a reality.

“I’m very grateful for what Lewis and Clark Development Group and Starion did for me,” says Joersz.

“I enjoyed working with Derrick at Lewis and Clark Development Group. While the loan process was not easy, I never worried because both Lewis and Clark and Starion had my back and were very helpful.” 
Visit LCD Group’s website or contact Becker at (701) 667-7622 or at about the SBA 504 Loan today.

To learn more about PAWZ, visit