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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Brook Weresuk, left, a co-owner and the managing director of Bird Dog Parking, talks with valet Calvin White outside the Edwin Hotel in Chattanooga.

Brook Weresuk says that Bird Dog Parking is not so much a parking company but a hospitality business.

"We feel that the hospitality part is what we want to focus on," he said about the company started last year by Weresuk and Chattanooga hotel developer and operator Mitch Patel.

Chattanooga-based Bird Dog works with hotels to create what it calls a custom arrival experience for guests through valet parking and shuttle, garage and bell services.

The brand is aimed at providing "a little more elevated parking experience than what people are used to," Weresuk said.

Even the name of the business points to setting itself apart from other such service providers in the industry, he said.

"With a bird dog, it's energetic with a natural instinct to retrieve," Weresuk said. "They're determined and patient ... to do their jobs. We strive to do the same."

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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Valet Calvin White gets out of a vehicle outside the Edwin Hotel in Chattanooga. Bird Dog Parking handles valet parking at the Walnut Street hotel.

The company's main focus is on hotels, though officials are looking at buying some parking lots, he said.

In Chattanooga, the business works with The Edwin Hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and the Kinley Hotel, all of which are in downtown Chattanooga and operated by Patel's Vision Hospitality Group, according to Bird Dog.

Also, the company works with the Dwell Hotel, which operates downtown. Outside of Chattanooga, the company is in Nashville, Atlanta and working to enter the Alabama market, Weresuk said.

Patel has said Vision Hospitality plans to open more than a half dozen hotels this year, noting that they were already in the pipeline when the pandemic hit about a year ago.

But Patel said he believes the worst is over from the coronavirus.

"Our industry is poised to rebound and thrive soon," he said, adding that it's going to take years to get back to where it was in 2019.

Still, Weresuk said Bird Dog plans to double its growth every year for the foreseeable future. It started with the Vision hotels and is growing outward from there, he said.

The company is up to 45 employees, about half of which are part-timers. Over the next few years, Weresuk said he expects revenues to double annually. This year, revenues are to hit $1.2 million, he said.

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Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / Vision Hospitality President and CEO Mitch Patel is co-owner of Bird Dog Parking.

Weresuk said the business owners are careful not to grow too fast. He said the hospitality sectr right now is "a tough business," especially when it comes to staffing.

"It's unfortunate the government is incentivizing people to stay at home and not work," he said.

But the business owner and managing director said Bird Dog likes to pay its employees a little more than the average. Also, the company offers profit sharing with its managers, Weresuk said.

"That's one thing that sets us apart," he said.

Weresuk was born and raised in New England. He came to Chattanooga for college in 2000, starting his parking career at the Marriott downtown. Weresuk said he worked for a third-party parking company, moving to Asheville, North Carolina, as an area manager, before returning to the Scenic City in 2016.

"I got to know Mitch from Vision," he said, with Patel suggesting in late 2019 that they look at starting their own company.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Brook Weresuk, co-owner and the managing director of Bird Dog Parking, says the company provides valet parking, shuttle, garage and bell services at hotels.

 

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