Collaborative and Grateful Pet Service in Roseville
1 Aug 2022
St. Francis Animal Hospital 30th Anniversary Open House
Sunday September 18, 1:00-4:00pm
Roseville’s St. Francis Animal Hospital has been in the same location for 30 years, with Dr. Jennifer Blair as owner since 2006. In 2022, existing veterinarians Dr. Jessica Lewis and Dr. Megan Schommer joined Blair as owners. While the partners share the satisfaction of being a female-owned business, they are equally delighted in operating an independently-owned business.
“In an industry rapidly moving to corporate-owned entities, we are happy to provide the Roseville community with a collaborative effort between our veterinary team and pet owners to care for their pets,” said Blair.
Collaborative pet service
Initially founded in 1992 by Dr. Tammy Jenkins, Blair purchased the practice in 2006 after beginning there as a kennel assistant in 1999. The hospital provides traditional veterinary services and unique niches in several practice areas, such as integrative services like acupuncture, herbal therapy and laser therapy, and hospice and palliative care services. Additionally, the staff can offer services for exotic and small mammal species, including rabbits, rodents, ferrets, hedgehogs and poultry.
The three partners greatly value their ability to remain independently owned. With other possibilities for the future of the practice and herself, Blair ultimately knew she loved St. Francis, her “wamily” (work-family), clients, patients and the role it has served in the Roseville neighborhood for 30 years.
“Dr. Lewis and Dr. Schommer share my vision for St. Francis while bringing innovative ideas to allow our strengths and weaknesses to fit perfectly for the future of St. Francis in ways I could not do alone,” she said. “We are confident we can deliver a collaboration between our veterinary staff and pet owners to serve these animals best.”
Additionally, Blair loves the aspect of ownership that allows her to create an environment that fosters the growth and development of her team members, which her new partners also value. Lewis and the practice’s newest veterinarian, Dr. Allison Gedstad, started similarly to Blair, working their way up through the various job positions at the hospital. Gedstad grew up in Roseville, coming in with her mother and their pet at age ten. She shadowed doctors on Saturdays as a junior in high school and continued there throughout her undergraduate studies and veterinary school. She recently graduated with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, joining the staff this summer.
“It is so amazing to think of the little ten-year-old running through here in her pigtails as now one of our staff doctors,” said Blair.
The entire staff has an extensive sense of pride in being involved with a business that has been on the same corner in Roseville for 30 years. The team’s Practice Manager has been with St. Francis for 20 years, while the Assistant Practice Manager has been there for 19 years. Collectively, the doctors have devoted over 60 years to St Francis.
That devotion led to their “wamily,'' referring to the “work-family” at St. Francis. Staff consciously create activities to promote bonding, like a Valentine’s Day candy exchange that ‘completely overwhelmed one exam room,’ Easter baskets, celebrating made-up holidays like National Awesome Veterinarian Week and doing a costumed-Halloween boat ride down the Mississippi River with staff and their families.
“We are especially proud of our culture at St. Francis and try to intersperse fun activities amid our busy days,” said Blair. “We truly care about each other in a way that is unique in a work setting and have much gratitude for how we care about each other.”
That gratefulness is mirrored back to staff by clients who are thankful St. Francis was able to continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Francis developed curbside protocols and a new concierge position to continue the pet services without clients in the building.
“We truly have the best pet owners with who we can build a partnership in caring for their pets,” she said. “Our services never feel transactional and I think that is unique.”
Blair said the staff has a lot of gratitude for the ownership partnership and what that new chapter can mean going forward for St. Francis. Future thoughts include ways to create more space for the practice without leaving Roseville and the possibility of adding house calls for individuals who have pets but may not be able to get to their offices.
“We do not doubt that we will continue to provide the Roseville community with an exceptional independently-owned veterinary hospital that we can all be proud to be part of for years to come,” said Blair.
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.